Uma, the plain, spinster daughter of a close-knit Indian family, is trapped at home, smothered by her overbearing parents and their traditions, unlike her ambitious younger sister Aruna, who brings off a ‘good’ marriage, and brother Arun, the disappointing son and heir who is studying in America. Across the world in Massachusetts, life with the Patton family is bewildering for Arun in the alien culture of freedom, freezers and paradoxically self-denying self-indulgence.
‘Anita Desai is one of Tolstoy’s inheritors. Like his, her writing is sensuous, radical and uncannily perceptive… Fasting, Feasting is a hypnotically readable story, in language which has the precision of poetry…an ambitious, successful and disturbing novel’ The Times
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