Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard
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Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  2,974 ratings  ·  301 reviews
Pity the poor Chawla family of Shahkot, India--their son, Sampath causes all kinds of trouble for his family, culminating in a Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard, but in a village like Shakhot, hullabaloo is a way of life. Indian writer Kiran Desai begins her first novel with Sampath's birth at the tail-end of a terrible drought. His mother, Kulfi, half-maddened by heat and h...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published 1998 by Faber
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Fairly amusing and fairly brief novel about Sampath, an Indian adolescent, who really does not want to work hard and who would rather laze around. One day he suddenly decides he would like to sit at the top of a guava tree. He stays there and refuses to come down. He begins to be mistaken for a wise man.
There is an air of predictability about this and some of the characters are very formulaic.
There are some very funny moments though and the saga of the drunken monkeys is hilarious. Desai also...more
Kiran Desai has now written a serious book that shows off her deep thinking and writing skills - the inheritance of loss.

whatever. she had me at Hullabaloo.

this book is funny. Hands down funny. And the mother in the book, reminds me of my mother on her more insane days.

I just realized that in a lot of the books that I love, food plays a role. sometimes a big role. in this book, the mother, kulfi, is an amazing cook who knows no boundaries as to ingredients and spices. hm...

And the younger siste...more
Dec 14, 2011 Psmith rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who love Indian fiction
This had an absurd storyline with eccentric characters. I never thought I would like it as much as I did because I am not inclined towards satire and silliness. This book made me realize that beautiful writing can surpass other faults. This is the story of Sampath, an eccentric young man born to a mad woman who has a long genealogy of craziness. He is overwhelmed by ordinary routine and the need for a steady paying job and just runs off to the forest one day and starts living in the branches of...more
Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard was lying in my office library and on a slow work day I decided to give it a read. Written by Kiran Desai, who even jointly won the Betty Trask award for it, Hullabaloo is everything that a book should never be.

It is pretentious, written in a direct vernacular to English translation style and has a story that I had to try very hard to stay connected to.

What is it about? About a Monkey Baba. A young boy from a village called Shahkot suffers from a madness gene pass...more
I try my best to respond to the text and not to other readers here, but really negative reviewers? REALLY!? The book is called Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard. Not since Breakin' II: Electric Boogaloo has a work so clearly announced itself as ridiculous. Did you read the back cover? The one that says plainly that this is the tale of a life-long loser who climbs a tree to escape the bastards only to be mistaken for a holy man which is all well and good until the drunken monkeys show up? No, reall...more
I'm not sure this really counts as a book I've read since I only made it half way through. It was that silly and slow that I just couldn't make it to the end. Set it India, it would make a great bollywood film and probably be quite funny and entertaining to watch. It's about a young man's quest to escape the chaos of his home and find peace and quiet. He ultimately does this turning into a guava and being taken away by a monkey. While there's great potential for a bollywood film, on paper, it's...more
Vj Krishnan
It was dragging to start with, where it looked like the author was padding out the narrative unnecessarily while the plot itself stagnated, but 1/3 into the book, things got a lot more interesting.

This book takes a light hearted approach to one of India's many charms: gurus, the individuals who pursue/have attained enlightenment, and how they can end up being one without claiming anything to that effect. Young Sampath is not successful at school nor work, hates being stuck in a post office job h...more
since the book was set in shahkot, north india(the capital of divine religious cultures and morals) one would expect the book to be have a wide range of religious themes, settings etc however desai employs a much different setting. she completely turns around and lowers the prestige pattern of hinduism as a religion and culture that was set in books known for this such as 'a passage to india'.
the book's main genre is comedy and that is the device she uses in potraying the indian beliefs. the au...more
Sairam Krishnan
At least two of my friends say that they don't like Kiran Desai's writing. I don't understand them. I read 'The Inheritance of Loss' before I read this, and I absolutely loved it. It spoke to an angst in me that I myself couldn't have given words to, and there are several passages in the book I hold very close to me.

'Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard' is a very different book; it's an incredible story and written with an amazing mastery of words.
It's not an easily believable story, there're elemen...more
Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard is the first novel by Kiran Desai. In the town of Shahkot, in the shadow of the Himalayan foothills, lives Sampath Chawla, a bored, dreamy Post Office clerk distinguishing himself with lacklustre career ambitions. When he manages to lose his job, his father, Mr Chawla, despairs that his son will ever amount to anything; his mother, Kulfi, says little, but then, she did come from a mad family; his sister Pinky finds him irritating and exasperating; his paternal gra...more
This very charming story, set in the Indian village of Shakhot, centers on Sampath Chawla. Born on a magical night when a terrible drought comes to an end and food accidentally drops from the sky, it seems that he is destined for greatness. Fast forward about twenty years, and he is disappointing his family with a string of failures and disgraceful incidents which cause him to seek an escape by climbing a guava tree. He is then mistaken for a holy man, sending his town into chaos. Oh yeah, the t...more
Sátira blanca, noble y amable.-

Género. Novela.

Lo que nos cuenta. Sampath Chawla nació con la llegada de un esperado monzón y veinte años después, en la ciudad de Shahkot, es un empleado de Correos distraído, imaginativo, insatisfecho y algo “ausente” cuyo comportamiento durante una boda le hace perder su empleo pero simultáneamente le ofrece una oportunidad para buscar su libertad, por lo que decide mudarse a las alturas de un gran guayabo y, desde sus ramas, comienza a mostrar un conocimiento d...more
Will Byrnes
Chauncey Gardener in India, Sampath is a slacker of the first order, completely lacking in ambition and as distractible as an infant confronted with moving shiny objects. After losing his job in a rather dramatic manner, Sampath wanders up the road until he feels the pull of a guava tree and decides to take up residence. The unknowing manage to project onto him a fully undeserved holiness. A new cult is born as Sampath tosses out meaningless parables in answer to the many questions asked him by...more
The first two chapters of “Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard” by Kiran Desai caught my attention, and left me eager to know how the story will unfold. As I progressed I started to find the book completely meaningless, and felt like the novel was getting nowhere. While reading I thought all the mischief the monkeys were causing we quite humorous but stupid at the same time. I disliked the book so much to an extent that if reading it wasn’t obligatory I would of given up on the book ages ago, but I’...more
this book was rather entertaining... it helps the mind look beyond the obvious and try to make sense of little details that at first one would consider insignificant. it certainly changed my perception of the world or any other piece of literature for that matter... Miss Randa if you're reading this, then yes i have become under the influence of over analytical thinking thank you :P
the book asks of each person what he/she might consider the meaning or purpose of their life, and as odd and stran...more
Wow. I did not expect "Hullabaloo" to turn out like that. It was so surprising and a page turner by the end of the book, much unlike the beginning. In the middle, the book was a bit confusing with all the new chapters being introduced but you seem to understand everything by the end which was clever of Desai, how she brang everything together at the end. Sampath is an unusual character trying to find himself so he climbs a guava tree an decides to live there. His father is against this but his m...more
I thought the story till now was interesting, though I'm still confused about the significanse of everything. However, I'm sure that they'll be revealed soon enough and that the story will have a mind-capturing pace and beat. I deeply appreciate the relation to nature in the story; the monsoon and the heatwave before. The authors descriptive language is really one to admire because of the use of metaphors and similies, especially the fashion in which the author depicted the rain, as peacockishly...more
Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard was a fun, quick read, full of self-deprecating humor and a sprinkle of fairy(tale) dust. There is a very small undercurrent of seriousness (for example the few pages on how to choose a bride, and how prospective brides should behave), but otherwise it's one big drama that reminds one of, for want of any better comparison, a Bollywood movie. As long as you don't go looking for hidden meanings, you will be able to sit back and enjoy it as a lighthearted, frivolous...more
Chapter 3 +4 :

The life of the Indian family is told. The father who gives commands, the children trying to keep up with his demands and the crazy mother thinking of food.

All in all chapter 3 reads itself fluently and it gives a nice, but a bit strange and boring view over the life of a paysan family in the Himalaya.

In the next chapter the life in the city Shahkot is told, little, but interesting and funny things happening at the end Sampath looses his work.

The more I'm reading the more I come in...more
Jo-Ann Zhou
The author wrote the story in a funny way. How ridiculous that people treat a unintelligent 20 year-old boy as a kind of living god! Even more ridiculous is that people are reciting what he said as mortal. Also, in the end, everything was ruined by a group of alcoholic monkeys.

Given that I had never read something about India, it's interesting experience to read. It's good to understand other cultures by authors from that country, though the author is also biased by her or his own education, cla...more
Natasha Ghawi
From the beginning of the book to the middle I found the book boring. However as I continued to read the book, it slowly but surely became interesting. To be honest if I was given this book by a person and they told me to read it, I would have put it down by the first chapter.I think that the monkeys getting drunk was nothing big but just an idea to add a bit of humor into the book.
No one believes the grandmother when she tells them that Sampath will be successful but he is taking a bit more tim...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Everything I want in a book: engaging characters, a bit of a plot, a little fun, a tiny bit of underlying seriousness. Sampath Chawla has grown up to become quite a disappointment to his family. He works in a post office where he spends most of his time reading the mail that comes through the office. His father is in despair; Sampath has no ambition. One day, Sampath leaves his job and, almost without thinking much about it, climbs up into a guava tree. He doesn't come down. As time passes, a my...more
Mohammed Elchammaa
Well I must say putting down this book was harder than picking it up the first time, towards the end I had grown fond of the book and had found it very diverting, a sharp contrast to when I was posting comments on how it was boring, I feel as if the author wrote this as “India for dummies “ . In the book Desai explores the theme of how doing one thing can lead to chaos or in this case hullabaloo, a strong example would be the ending. I also found the book ambiguous from the begging towards the e...more
Everyone should read this absolutely delightful and very interesting novel that pulls you right in from the first chapter. Here's a little taste:

But Ammaji, who had just been handed a nice chocolate cone by the Hungry Hop boy, ran with the cone--not that this mattered, for he monkey ignored her and ran after Pinky instead, even though she was without any food products whatsoever. He grabbed hold of her dupatta and held tight as she screamed like a train and pounded down the bazaar street, follow...more
I enjoyed Ms Desai's satire of village life in India and found most of the characters lovable. I liked the mother Kulfi who is as liberated as her son, Sampath, when he escapes his stultifying job and smothering family to live in a guava tree. She cooks amazinly wierd concoctions while he becomes an unwitting holy man. The father schemes to turn the situation into a money making venture. Everyone flocks to here Sampath's quirky pronouncements and everyone is happy until a the monkeys arrive and...more
Ashwini Sharma

Satire has an engrossing value, because it invites you to laugh at yourself without feeling offended. It is a form of humour considered higher than any other type because, to be able to create great satire, one must be blessed with multiple perspectives, often contradicting, yet profound in their own rights, all at the same time. But somewhere, Satire has become confused with something of a lesser degree, that neither enlightens, nor instructs, yet happens...more
Sampath, a desultory lad without his father's ambition, and with mother's proclivity to just ... be, loses his secure sinecure when he dresses in fine women's clothes, and jewels, and strips it all off, in the fountain, at his boss's daughter's wedding. Fleeing his family (or, more likely, his father), he finds himself, in more ways than one, sitting in a guava tree. This act of rebellion, or attempt at peace and stillness unite his family. His mother emerges from her otherworldliness to create...more
I can see why the critics all called this "charming" and "humorous". It is that, but mildly so. Unfortunately, that's all - a bit of diverting fluff. I much preferred the last quarter of the book, where some serious undertones crept in before events descended into a ridiculousness that was far more interesting and convincing than the rest of the book, which was somehow just a little bit too believable to really work. And in the same vein, the ending! It was quite great.
This is a zany, fast read with a few moments of seriousness thrown in for good measure (like how to select a bride). The main character, Sampath, tires of his job as a postal worker, comes home, and climbs a guava tree where he remains. He becomes known as a holy man among the villagers who gather underneath his tree. When the villagers ask him questions, Sampath answers in meaningless parables, but the common people are impressed by his holy words.
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Kiran Desai is an Indian author who is a citizen of India and a permanent resident of the United States. She is the daughter of the noted author Anita Desai.

Desai's first novel, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard (1998), gained accolades from notable figures including Salman Rushdie, and went on to receive the Betty Trask Award. Her second novel, The Inheritance of Loss (2006), won the 2006 Man Booke...more
More about Kiran Desai...
The Inheritance of Loss India Pack - 2003 (Threebies) AIDS Sutra: Untold Stories from India Generation 1.5

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