RaveThe GuardianLinguistic multiplicity is an important part of the dialogue, and while not all readers will be able to parse the (pleasingly unitalicised) Hindi, it’s appropriately wrong-footing, and another instance in which the novel is worlds away from the kind of book that permits only an exotic sprinkling of swear words and familial terms. The naturalistic dialogue is also a brilliant counterpoint to the flat, present-tense style Taneja repeatedly employs, in which the characters are like goods for sale, laid out by an advertiser to excite our interest. Interiors and clothes, the possessions that possess us, are exhaustively detailed, blurring the boundaries between active and passive, human and inanimate ... Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement bemoans the lack of contemporary fiction addressing this biggest of subjects, but it’s practically another character here, from the freak storm which forces Devraj to take shelter among slum dwellers, to the prototype eco-car, funded by the Company’s rotten tax gains, which he uses as a sop to Sita’s green activism. This is not a polemical novel; it is too finely crafted, and too aware of the impossibility of purity, for that. Instead, Taneja has given us that rarest of beasts, a page-turner that’s also unabashedly political—with the complex, ambiguous, fiercely felt politics of our time.
RaveThe GuardianGhachar Ghochar is both fascinatingly different from much Indian writing in English, and provides a masterclass in crafting, particularly on the power of leaving things unsaid ... the short novel is the perfect form for Shanbhag’s particular talents: precise observations, accumulation of detail, narrative progression by way of oblique tangents ... there is no doubt that this deceptively unassuming book will find its readership.
Ananda Devi, Trans. by Jeffrey Zuckerman
RaveThe Guardian...one of Devi and Zuckerman’s greatest triumphs in this book is that each character has their own distinct rhythms, with power and poetry drawn from the cadences of their speech ... narration is extraordinary, shifting between describing solid, often sordid details with vivid precision, and soaring into more abstract passages that echo the ebb and flow of the sea that 'surges, escapes, shatters' on the island’s shore ... Together these voices provide a stunning immersion in Troumaron, an impoverished area of Port Louis, and in the surges of teenage lust ... [a] stunning short novel.