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Red earth and pouring rain : a novel
Vikram Chandra
Adult Fiction CHANDRA

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Setting 18th- and 19th-century Mogul India against the open highways of contemporary America and fusing Indian myth, Hindu gods, magic and mundane reality, this intricate first novel is a magnificent epic that welds the exfoliating storytelling style of A Thousand and One Nights to modernist fictional technique. Abhay, an Indian college student studying in the U.S. but home on vacation in Bombay, shoots a scavenging monkey; the dying creature reveals itself to be the reincarnation of Sanjay Parasher, a fiery, iconoclastic 19th-century poet and freedom-fighter against British rule. To remain alive, the monkey strikes a deal with the gods: he must keep Abhay's family entertained each day by telling stories of his former lives. Around this fanciful premise, Indian novelist Chandra has built a powerful, moving saga that explores colonialism, death and suffering, ephemeral pleasure and the search for the meaning of life. Through the monkey's tales, we learn of Sanjay's lethal estrangement from his best friend, Sikander, an Anglo-Indian warrior who serves the British; of the suicide of Sikander's mother, Janvi, who throws herself on a funeral pyre after her English husband gives away their daughters to missionaries; of Sanjay's avenging showdown in London with Dr. Paul Sarthey, renowned orientalist and murderous imperialist. Abhay also narrates his own sprawling tale about his drive across the U.S. with two alienated fellow students, providing a dramatic contrast between America's throwaway pop culture and India's ancient, venerated ways, bound up with the concepts of dharma (right conduct), karma and reincarnation. This is an astonishing and brilliant debut. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In this debut, an example of magical realism with an Asian American twist, a monkey shot by a young man in Bombay turns out to be the latest reincarnation of a 17th-century poet and adventurer. The gods promise to spare the monkey's life if he tells a story, and his stirring tale of warriors and poets blends with the young man's account of three college students making their way across America. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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more titles about

main characters Abhay
Male
Age: Young adult
Educated in America; restless; alienated; home on vacation.

Sanjay Parasher
Male
Monkey
Ancient soul reincarnated in the body of a monkey; lived in the eighteenth century as a warrior-poet fighting British rule; seriously wounded by Abhay.



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