Meera's Reviews > English, August: An Indian Story

English, August by Upamanyu Chatterjee
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Sep 17, 2008

really liked it
Read in August, 2008

So this was a birthday gift given to me three years ago, and it's taken me about 5 attempts to actually get through the first 20 pages [which are absurdly wordy], but if you can get past that, it's a great book. It's about a lazy young administrator named Agastya ('August' for short) from the big city (Calcutta) who joins the IAS and is posted in a tiny village called Madna. He's very much influenced by the west, listens to Bob Dylan, reads English poetry, smokes pot, speaks a hybrid English-Hindi, etc, and then he's forced to be in a remote little village - almost like entering a new country - to him it's like visiting the third world for the first time. The writing is very funny, though I think I probably missed half the jokes, not being fluent in 'Hinglish' and not getting some of the contextual commentary. I'd recommend to anyone interested in the contrast between big city life and village life in India.
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