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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To me, the neglish this is what I fall for the most and every time—is a story about homelessness. Agastya August is an Indian Administrative Service officer in training, who has left the bustling energy of Calcutta for a forlorn existence in Madna, buffeted from one official to the next and trying to conserve some sense of self.

It was the blurb on the back of this book that initially attracted me. Apr 19, Rahul Bhaskar rated it it was amazing. I hate the idea of a book having chapters, without having chapter numbers or sub-headings! He feigns falling ill a couple of times to avoid meetings that promise ‘slow death’ even though scared his mentor might visit him and catch him masturbating or smoking a joint or both. 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 protagonist gets his posting in Madna, a place which is a true caricature of any other town in India — oppressive, dusty and being rural devoid of the basic facilities.

Thirty years of Upamanyu Chatterjee’s ‘English, August’: Does the novel still hold up in ?

He presents a satirical and humorous view of the way things function. No trivia or quizzes yet. To ask other readers questions about English, Augustplease sign up. Peripheral centres, central peripheries: There were many instances where I could easily picture the scenes in the book because it was all so familiar, it is a very Indian story.


I couldn’t stop laughing through the first half of this book. 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: At that time, it got a great cult fo http: View all 19 comments.

Thousands burn the midnight oil and flock the test preparation centres to crack the supremely competitive civil servant exams. For once this is not an NRI author trying to bring forth the truth about “real” India.

The atoms of thoughts that bang its surface with undiminished energy transport him to his relaxed, identifiable days in Delhi where along with his friends, he had swung cig-butts in the air and chortled while sucking at empty liquor bottles. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Don’t get me wrong: The abysmal living conditions unsettle him.

Nothing much happens, and when he decides to quit the IAS, you don’t know if he’ll stick to it or not. I read this book in the mornings. In the rare moments when his mind is not clouded by the blue smoke of marijuana, he finds intellectual solace in these works.

So few people will understand this simplicity. A complex to overcome? I know English, August came a long time ago, and though I remember catching glimpses of the film and augus intrigued by it, I never got around to reading the book. Despite the fact that the smart arse and often flat narrative often fails as any grade of literature, there is genuine humor in Chatterjee’s page tome.

Lethargy will only win the second prize when compared to how much corruption has rusted the machinery of Governance in India. But i don’t want to try aguust. Like A Confederacy of Dunces and The Catcher in the Ryeit is both an inspired and hilarious satire and a timeless story of self-discovery. Urdu and American,’ Agastya laughed, ‘a thousand fucked, really fucked.


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 Agastya take a side. Finally, after months of no consequences, August runs up against a solid barrier to living a hedonistic life. At several places, upxmanyu find an increasingly frustrated Agastya describe the genesis of his name to gullible listeners through a hundred elaborations.

‘English, August’ is getting a special 30-year edition. But does it still hold up in 2018?

But I suppose one has to live. This article is about the novel.

This visit is his Holden Caulfield moment. Chatterjee doesn’t let the narrative get dull at all. The novel describes his year of training in chatferjee India. I was blinded by all the great reviews in Good reads. He’s struck by the laidback attitude of the sugust community, trying to battle with the trying conditions of the place. The book is a satire, the humour veering from the blunt and crude to the delicate.

It is heartening as well as uncanny to find having vile, vulgar and vague thoughts is an integral part of upamamyu generation and that existential anxiety runs in vein augjst the incredible experiences only in Indian can you be shit upon by three different animals while being burnt to a crisp by the midday sun that sum up our lives making us truly Indian. Oct 05, R K added it. There are over a billion citizens a majority of whom live in rural areaswho speak dozens of languages, representing a broad spectrum of upamantu beliefs, ethnic ties, education levels, occupational positions, social class locations, and on and on.

Dev Benegal Allyson C. After all, how many of us would actually steal the car keys of our bosses and then revel in the pandemonium that ensues.