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Odysseus Abroad
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In Odysseus Abroad, Amit Chaudhuri charts a day in the life of two Indian men a twenty-two-year-old student trying (and failing) at being a poet and his bachelor uncle, who has been living in genteel poverty for nearly three decades as they explore London, the city they now call home. A wistful and beguiling work of fiction, the novel follows nephew and uncle on one of their weekly forays about town, as they ruminate on their situations, the art of living, and each other. Marked by the same sensual richness that is a hallmark of all of Chaudhuri s work, here is a charming yet candid look at the experiences of the outsider, the struggles of youth and loneliness, and the spiky, needful, sometimes comical, yet ultimately loving connection between two generations."
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About the Author

Amit Chaudhuri is the author of five previous novels, one work of nonfiction, and a number of books of literary criticism. His many honors include the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize; most recently, he became the first recipient of the Infosys Prize for Humanities--Literary Studies. A contributor to the London Review of Books, Granta, and The Times Literary Supplement, he is currently professor of contemporary literature at the University of East Anglia and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He is also an internationally acclaimed musician, and lives in Calcutta, India, and Norwich, England.

Reviews

"Wonderfully funny. . . . Each page notices something freshly, or registers something true." --James Wood, The New Yorker"Apart from its comedic delights, this playfully allusive novel . . . with its echoes of Joyce and Homer, [Odysseus Abroad] offers eloquent meditations on family and the fracturing of identity." --The New York Times"Luminously intelligent. . . . Odysseus Abroad has placed itself, with erudition and playfulness, on the map of modernism." Neel Mukherjee, The Guardian "Touchingly shows the way that those stranded between two cultures build themselves up as the quiet heroes of their lifelong journeys." --Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal"Tender. . . . Treated with Chaudhuri's characteristic eloquence, kindly humour, poet's gift of observation, and awareness of the redolence of each moment." --The Independent "Mercilessly funny. . . . [A] study of alienation, delivered with Chaudhuri's signature intelligence and reserve. . . . Its riches repay re-reading." --The Christian Science Monitor "Chauduri's writing is so fresh and immediate, and often powerfully observant. . . . He paints the background with a light, sure hand, recreating the atmosphere of London in those post-Falkland days when Mrs Thatcher seemed set to rule for ever." --Kate Saunders, The Times "Some passages recall to us a long tradition of energetic prose about London by writers from Sam Selvon to Salman Rushdie . . . I was struck by the precision of the writing." --Amitava Kumar, Bookforum "The best book I've ever read about the immigrant experience, indeed the colonial experience. . . Profound." --Wendy Doniger, author of The Hindus: An Alternative History "Intelligent and funny. . . . Chaudhuri is a master of the inconsequential detail, or rather of describing quotidian, often overlooked details that matter to the character observing or experiencing them, or take on a new consequence in his describing of them." --London Review of Books "Charming. . . . A luminous and witty celebration of immigrant life, speaks to anyone who has searched for a place to call home." --Toronto Star "An unforgettable walk through London and other worlds by one of our most entertaining and artful writers." --Deborah Levy, author of Swimming Home "Incisive and humorous." --The Sunday Telegraph "In this stunningly engaging new novel, Naipaul meets Amis? Yes. Joyce visits Thatcher's England? Yes. But so much more. Wittingly inventive, deeply moving, it's Chaudhuri's finest work to date." --Caryl Phillips, author of In the Falling Snow "Richly allusive. . . . Filled with wandering and wondering. . . . Engrossing." --The Observer (UK) "A wonderful novel which has everything in it--pathos, humour, lyricism, and style--by one of the most remarkable novelists writing today." --Nadeem Aslam, author of The Blind Man's Garden "A little gem not to be missed. . . . Almost unbearably moving and irresistibly hilarious in the space of a sentence." --Daily Mail "Both moving and witty. . . . Deftness and lightness of touch highlight Chaudhuri's subtle understanding of Indian life and preoccupations." --Financial Times Wonderfully funny. . . . Each page notices something freshly, or registers something true. James Wood, The New Yorker Apart from its comedic delights, thisplayfully allusive novel . . . with its echoes of Joyce and Homer, [Odysseus Abroad] offers eloquent meditations on family and the fracturing of identity. The New York Times Luminously intelligent. . . . Odysseus Abroad has placed itself, with erudition and playfulness, on the map of modernism. Neel Mukherjee, The Guardian Touchingly shows the way that those stranded between two cultures build themselves up as the quiet heroes of their lifelong journeys. Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal Tender. . . . Treated with Chaudhuri s characteristic eloquence, kindly humour, poet s gift of observation, and awareness of the redolence of each moment. The Independent Mercilessly funny. . . . [A] study of alienation, delivered with Chaudhuri s signature intelligence and reserve. . . . Its riches repay re-reading. The Christian Science Monitor Chauduri s writing is so fresh and immediate, and often powerfully observant. . . . He paints the background with a light, sure hand, recreating the atmosphere of London in those post-Falkland days when Mrs Thatcher seemed set to rule for ever. Kate Saunders, The Times Some passages recall to us a long tradition of energetic prose about London by writers from Sam Selvon to Salman Rushdie . . . I was struck by the precision of the writing. Amitava Kumar, Bookforum The best book I ve ever read about the immigrant experience, indeed the colonial experience. . . Profound. Wendy Doniger, author of The Hindus: An Alternative History Intelligent and funny. . . . Chaudhuri is a master of the inconsequential detail, or rather of describing quotidian, often overlooked details that matter to the character observing or experiencing them, or take on a new consequence in his describing of them. London Review of Books Charming. . . . A luminous and witty celebration of immigrant life, speaks to anyone who has searched for a place to call home. Toronto Star An unforgettable walk through London and other worlds by one of our most entertaining and artful writers. Deborah Levy, author of Swimming Home Incisive and humorous. The Sunday Telegraph In this stunningly engaging new novel, Naipaul meets Amis? Yes. Joyce visits Thatcher s England? Yes. But so much more. Wittingly inventive, deeply moving, it s Chaudhuri s finest work to date. Caryl Phillips, author of In the Falling Snow Richly allusive. . . . Filled with wandering and wondering. . . . Engrossing. The Observer(UK) A wonderful novel which has everything in it pathos, humour, lyricism, and style by one of the most remarkable novelists writing today. Nadeem Aslam, author of The Blind Man s Garden A little gem not to be missed. . . . Almost unbearably moving and irresistibly hilarious in the space of a sentence. Daily Mail Both moving and witty. . . . Deftness and lightness of touch highlight Chaudhuri s subtle understanding of Indian life and preoccupations. Financial Times" ...Rich with hanging vignettes of domestic and urban life; the atmosphere is impressionistic, poetic, softly comic . . . In his new novel, "Odysseus Abroad, "each page notices something freshly, or registers something true. And what is being noticed is of intense significance, because it is being seen by an outsider who also half-belongs . . . As the two make their way through London, there are wonderfully funny, lightly sketched scenes . . . But the levity is tensioned across cavities of anxiety and displacement . . . Radhesh and Ananda represent two generations in what Naipaul called that great movement of peoples that was to take place in the second half of the twentieth century. Each immigrant deals with the loss of his home, and the quest for a new one, in his own way. James Wood, "The New Yorker " Apart from its comedic delights, this playfully allusive novel, with its echoes of Joyce and Homer, offers eloquent meditations on family and the fracturing of identity. Carmela Ciuraru, "The New York Times" The novel touchingly shows the way that those stranded between two cultures build themselves up as the quiet heroes of their lifelong journeys. Sam Sacks, "Wall Street Journal" Some passages recall to us a long tradition of energetic prose about London by writers from Sam Selvon to Salman Rushdie . . . The novel s real pleasures lie in its poetry of the mundane . . . I was struck by the precision of the writing . . . What a novel like"Odysseus Abroad"offers is authenticity. Amitava Kumar, "Bookforum" The implied contrast between the Age of Heroes and the Age of Thatcher is both light-fingered and, in its own way, mercilessly funny . . . [A] stylish novel . . . delivered with Chaudhuri s signature intelligence and reserve. And its riches repay re-reading. "Christian Science Monitor" A gently humorous book that riffs on Homer s "Iliad "and Joyce s "Ulysses ." . . Richly evocative of 1980s London . . . The frustrated yearning to belong somewhere, anywhere reverberates plainly throughout. "Publishers Weekly "(starred, boxed) A wonderful novel which has everything in it pathos, humour, lyricism and style by one of the most remarkable novelists writing today. Nadeem Aslam Witty, intimate, and modern, Chaudhuri s insight into the loneliness and excitement of our search for elsewhere had me under its spell.An unforgettable walk through London and other worlds by one of our most entertaining and artful writers. Deborah Levy, author of "Swimming Home" Audacious . . . Delightfully witty . . . Chaudhuri s luminously intelligent novel appropriates a literary tradition that is both his and not his; in making Homer and Joyce speak in Bengali and in the English used by educated, cosmopolitan Bengalis, "Odysseus Abroad "has placed itself, with erudition and playfulness, on the map of modernism. Neel Mukherjee, "The Guardian""" Engrossing . . . Richly allusive . . . A witty narrative filled with wandering and wondering. Anita Sethi, "The Observer "(UK)"" A little gem not to be missed . . . Almost unbearably moving and irresistibly hilarious in the space of a sentence . . . In the eccentric Radhesh, Chaudhuri give us something special . . . It is Ananda s undoubted affection for him, coupled with his fear of turning into him, that drives the narrative into something that transcends its particularities into a universal experience. "Daily Mail""" A tender and wryly humorous exploration of a young man s dreams and aspirations so far from home, probing identity, race, the sadness and allure of loneliness, poignant inter-generational friendship, and the importance of companionship . . . Treated with Chaudhuri s characteristic eloquence, kindly humour, poet s gift of observation, and awareness of the redolence of each moment. "The Independent " Both moving and witty . . . There is a richness and quirky detail in these later sections, which are funny and touching . . . This deftness and lightness of touch highlight Chaudhuri s subtle understanding of Indian life and preoccupations, particularly within the diaspora. Justin Cartwright, "Financial Times" Chaudhuri is incisive and humorous on the experience of moving from a former colony to Eighties London, and subtly questions the concept of cultural tradition. "Sunday Telegraph""" It is all very elegant . . . A pleasure to read . . . Sustained by a fierce intelligence . . . Witty, effortlessly fluid . . . It is far closer to the majestic RK Narayan in its intelligent humour than it is to VS Naipaul. Chaudhuri is a singular writer. He defies form; instead he has perfected an observational fiction based on insight and memory . . . Chaudhuri s understated art lies in his perception of displacement at its most subtle. "Irish Times" A work that captivates . . . Like Joyce, Chaudhuri recognizes that the seemingly artless rhythms and repetitions of daily life can have, in thoughtful hands, the depth and breadth of true art. "Kirkus Reviews "(starred) Reviews from India: The novel, in Amit Chaudhuri s hands, is a singular thing . . . The texture and rhythm of ordinary lives come alive, and the reader departs, more alert to the invisible life of objects, rooms, and streets . . . Wry and unexpectedly funny, this novel about two men and their companionship seems to draw its charge from the city that Chaudhuri creates with delicate precision. Amrita Dutta, "The Indian Express" A delightful novel . . . Chaudhuri plays adroitly with the mythic template . . . "Odysseus Abroad "essays a playful, idiosyncratic version of the bildungsroman, following its hero as he apprentices himself to the refinement of sensibility, socialisation, scholarly tradition, literary practice and the mastery of the survival tactics of everyday life. Ranjit Hoskote, "India Today""" A beautiful new novel . . . With "Odysseus Abroad, " Chaudhuri triumphs. He is a marvelous observer of place. Shahnaz Habib, "Open "(New Delhi) "Odysseus Abroad "is a nimble-footed creature. It unfolds in short episodes, through bursts of elegant but edgily comic prose . . . Breathtaking Proustian sentences flow languorously, coming to rest against breathlessly pithy interjections . . . By intimately documenting the dynamic between uncle and nephew their weekly ritual of walks, meals, arguments, and affections Chaudhuri explores the politics of race, friendship, identity, and (male) sexuality, through their amusingly conflicting perspectives. Somak Ghoshal, "Live Mint" More praise: The stunning, Proustian prose that we have come to expect of Amit Chaudhuri is here in abundance, newly enhanced with surreal comedy and wry, self-mocking, often hilarious sex. Brilliantly he superimposes an intensely Bengali sensibility upon the picaresque experience of a London undergraduate.Who but Amit Chaudhuri could compare Thomas Hardy s tragicomedies to a Tom and Jerry cartoon, or the Four Yugas of classical Hinduism simultaneously to the four classes of Indian society and four civilizations . . . This is his wittiest and also his most profound book to date. Wendy Doniger, author of "The Hindus: An Alternative History""" A superb book, one of Chaudhuri s very best full of wit, charm and humanity, and so delicately and intricately written. Ian Jack, editor emeritus of "Granta" Chaudhuri is a great stylist, an acute observer, and deliciously witty, and all these virtues are on display in this stunningly engaging new novel. A master of form and language, Chaudhuri s fiction has always defied easy categorization. In this new novel, Naipaul meets Amis? Yes. Joyce visits Thatcher s England? Yes. But so much more. Wittingly inventive, deeply moving, it s his finest work to date. Caryl Phillips"

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