The Grammarian
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The Grammarian

3.28 of 5 stars 3.28  ·  rating details  ·  87 ratings  ·  14 reviews
In the fall of 1911, Alexandre Lautens, an ambitious French philologist, sweeps into a remote part of India to study the Telugu language. Hosted by a local wealthy landowner and his family, Lautens arrives at a moment of change for the Adivis: Mohini, the younger and strikingly beautiful daughter is about to marry, an act which will inevitably condem her older sister, who...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published February 12th 2013 by Counterpoint
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This book took me on a journey to India. At the start I had no great expectations. I was drawn to the book by the title and the picture on the front caught my eye. Even the text style drew me in. It called to me to pick it up and after reading the summary on the jacket cover, I was happy to pay my money and take the book home. It was a risk, but the story line sounded interesting to me. The next day, my book group posted a challenge to read a book set in a country of one of the New Seven Wonders...more
Peter Rock
I found this to be an amazingly assured debut. The prose here is so rich and supple; what's most impressive is the sheer amount of dimension--within individuals, and between them, and politically/historically, and even the way language is plumbed and investigated. Some of the shifts between perspective and both so sudden and so subtle that we at once have a resonance of an experience from multiple perspectives. While this isn't a new technique, I usually find it quite jarring, and it can take a...more
I feel like the author overelaborated on a lot of events in this story that didn't need elaboration, and could have gone into more detail about certain other things, especially in the second half of the book, which was very disjointed. A lot of the language was pretty, but at some points it distracted from the story itself.

However, this book also had two things I love: South India and grammar. I enjoyed those elements enough to give it an extra star.
Jane Celwyn
This is an extraordinary debut novel by a very clever storyteller. The engaging story of a French philologist who lives with a family in India at the turn of the 20th century iis enriched by historical details that expand the context beyond the immediate time period and the usual East-West conflicts. This is a many layered novel. I won't spoil a future reader's experience by revealing more about the story and its conclusion which I found very powerful.
I have given this book 3 stars because it averages out the 1 star rating I would give it for plot and the 5 star rating I would give it for prose.

Annapurna Potluri writes beautifully. Her prose transported me to the sultry bustle of India, and inside the heads of her characters so that I felt their emotions and saw through their eyes. And for the first half of the book the story is purposeful and enveloping, but then it fizzles out and I was left feeling very unfulfilled and thinking 'What was t...more
Anthony Matthews
May 22, 2013 Anthony Matthews is currently reading it
So far so good, got this book on loan as an ebook from the Los Angeles Public Library
As a French philologist visiting India, Lautens tries to be a guest showing more behavioral empathy to his "well-to-do" Adivis host family than colonial British would demonstrate. He especially enjoys engaging in conversation with the grandmother and polio crippled granddaughter, Anjali. His goal in visiting is to write a grammar of the family's Telugu language.

Mutual admiration develops between him and Angali by the time preparations are in full swing by the family and servants to ready the hou...more
Alexander Lautens comes to a remote part of South Indian during the British Raj. He is a French philologist and has come to study the Telugu language.He is hosted by the Adivi family. They are rich landowners, and the family has two daughters, Mohini, one who is strikingly beautiful while the other Anjali is disfigured by polio and due the culture which she lives in where arranged marriages are business propostions is condemned to a life of spinsterhood in that era

Alexander is appreciative of th...more
Rose Mary Achey
Many books have been written with British rule in the Indian subcontinent as their setting or framework and The Grammarian is one such book. In 1911 a French philologist spends time in an Indian family while he studies the Telugu language.

The wealthy host family considers it a high honor that Dr. Lautens, the philologist, is staying in their home. Unfortunately Dr. Lautens shows the eldest daughter a kindness that is misinterpreted by her traditional father. The philologist is sent packing and...more
This book had an interesting storyline, and could have been much better. A French philologist travels to India to study Telugu, a language of southeastern India. While there, he is hosted by a wealthy family and is intrigued by one of the daughters, who is intelligent and socially conscious, but not as beautiful as her younger sister, and also crippled by a childhood case of polio (the story mainly takes place in 1911). Because of a misunderstanding, Alexandre, the philologist, is banished from...more
No good deed goes unpunished, especially in early 20th century colonial India! After an intense affair of the heart, though basically one-sided, powers the story, the author leads the reader through much Indian history. At times, I thought she was using her novel as a "bully pulpit" but nevertheless, found the book captivating. It helped immensely that she is talking about the region I visited!
Mary Ann
not bad, but stilted language at times, even maudlin
Interesting, sad--historical.
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