English, August: An Indian Story (New York Review Books Classics) [Upamanyu Chatterjee, Akhil Sharma] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying. It was the blurb on the back of this book that initially attracted me. The synopsis likens this Indian novel to a synthesis of John Kennedy Toole’s. A review, and links to other information about and reviews of English, August by Upamanyu Chatterjee.

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His stomach contracted with his laughter. In a moving jeep he was not vexed by the onus of thought They were servile and sycophantic when hungry;once fed,and before sleep,they wagged their tails perfunctorily whenever their hosts passes,as an investment for future meals. The English Faber and Faber edition also helpfully supplies a glossary of some sixty terms at the end.

The question of feeling understood remains, then as now, frustratingly separate. The unrest in the society is clearly reflected in the author’s work.

I truly appreciated the humorous story of a young Bengali man who, after enlisting in the Indian Administrative Service, finds his life directed to a small depressing vhatterjee town km from nowhere.

Anoop Jotwani K U Mohanan.

English, August: An Indian Story

But there are so many of them, I don’t know how to pick. My all-time favorite novel. The self-discovery happens only when August can gain perspective on his life and situation by literally putting distance between himself and all that he once held near and dear. There are moments of discovery: Agastya’s second chattrjee, Tonic, the publisher, who “functions as though he’s paid to be a leaking balloon, emit hot air”, though repeatedly skewered, is easily deflated ajgust a single exchange, for example: Voices of Time by Eduardo Galeano.

DNF I wasn’t being pulled into the story at all. He saw women in a different way. Upamanyu relates this flotsam of topics to his protagonist’s inner world beautifully, and never once does he commit the error of making the making the disillusioned Engkish take a side.


At several places, we find an increasingly frustrated Agastya describe the genesis of his name to gullible listeners through a hundred elaborations.

It might make them empathise or strongly degree with the portrayal of the character and circumstances. Indecision will be your epitaph. And suddenly, my world filled up, as I My all-time favorite novel. I hope so because he got no gratitude from his own sons, sullen little bastard that I was biding my time in that rural backwoods and looking forward to coming of age in the sophistication of the biggest city I could think of.

He finds himself an absolute misfit and incapable of communicating or connecting to the locals or colleagues.

Not just as far as the plot goes, but also as to the mix of cultures. In retrospect, I suspect that with children out of the picture, he would have gone back to India, or at least to Montreal or Toronto, both of which fostered Bengali communities.

He aspires whole-heartedly to be happy. He starts passing his time wandering from this office to that. In this world, ‘life is a leisurely affair’, one in which ‘a bullock’s tail could flick dung on to you if you weren’t careful, in which a sulking district judge could ring you up to tell you that he was not inviting you to dinner, where you hungrily scoured the offices of subordinate district officials’.

The novel presents a new generation of Indians already strongly influenced by modern American culture several of the characters have studied in the US — sugust not quite the MTV generation yet the novel was written inwhen upamany impact of cable and satellite TV in India was still limited.

I’d recommend this book for anyone looking for engaging comic novel or going through quarter-life crisis, indecision, dissatisfaction with the working world. And suddenly, my world filled up, as I felt truly understood for the first time, making me realize the incredible power of writing in connecting us in this messy, glorious human experience. As if such a thing could be done! The feckless observer would have been very lucky to have gotten off with complete ostracism.


English, August (film) – Wikipedia

Dealing with the locals turns out to be a lot easier for August than living with himself. Sadly only a handful succeeds. Agastya Sen ‘August’ to his school friends is twenty-four when he drifts into the Indian Administrative Service, mostly because he can’t think of anything else he wants to do. You look like a porn film actor, thin A fresh recruit to the Indian Administrative Service IAS and his friend sit in their car, totally stoned and deliberating the relative merits of being a bureaucrat.

This discoverer is so ardent in looking for coherence that, like a child scrapping balls of cream from a sandwiched biscuit, he slowly discerns delectable oxymorons of life: Work takes a enhlish seat for everyone and Agastya, caught in lethargy and inertia, is happy to get away with doing little enflish nothing.

As the title suggests this is a very Indian Story and remains to be so even 30 years after it was first penned.

English, August – Wikipedia

And a bureaucrat ought to be soft and clean shaven, bespectacled, and if a Tamil Brahmin, given to rapid quoting of rules. It is an easy target for satire, and Chatterjee does not waste the opportunity. The back cover blurb for this book suggests it is the Indian equivalent of The Catcher in the Rye or A Confederacy of Duncesbut I think it is instead the fictional equivalent of the Indian Administrative Service: What administrative overhaul can he bring to this town far beyond its expiry date?