Book Twentynine: English, August

English, August: An Indian Story, Upamanyu Chatterjee

Funny and bleak. I put this book down and felt both empty and full inside, you know? I laughed out loud frequently while reading this, but every time I went to pick it up, I had to think, "Do I really want to feel this depressed right now?" Agastya (known to his friends as August due to his anglophilic ways) joins the Indian Administrative Service and is sent to hot, rural and stagnant Madna for a year. He spends his time in his room at the Rest House smoking a lot of pot, exercising late at night, masturbating, and reading Marcus Aurelius and the Bhagavad Gita, meanwhile lying to anyone he can just because he can get away with it, and hating his post. He wishes he could return to his life in Calcutta, but then realizes that's probably no better than where he is. Such lovely, lovely writing; so sarcastic and funny with vivid portraits of characters and places. Thank you, NYRB Classics, for another great read.


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