The Girl with the Golden Parasol

Uday Prakash, trans. from the Hindi by Jason Grunebaum. Yale Univ., $16 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-0-300-19054-0
Short fiction writer and documentary filmmaker Prakash's frenzied first novel skewers modern-day India's continuation of the caste system and society's complicity in the inequality and corruption it generates. When Rahul starts his second master's degree, things are already spiraling downward at the university. Local goondas regularly attack the students, robbing them every month and beating anyone who gets in the way. Rahul's growing disgust and fear is pierced by the appearance of Anjali Joshi, a late arrival at the university. Smitten instantly, Rahul switches to Anjali's master's program and does his best to woo her – secretly, since she is of the highest caste – while fending off the goondas and holding his own against the professors who play favorites. Rahul can't believe it when Anjali starts to notice him, but his joy is interrupted by the suicide of a good friend, more heinous attacks by the goondas, and blatant elitism among the university higher ups. Rahul must discover if Anjali's love is true enough to fight for when his future – and even his life – are on the line. Despite the novel's choppy execution and frequent rants, Rahul's passion for truth, justice, and Anjali make this story compelling. (May)
Reviewed on: 06/24/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-300-19527-9
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