Trying to Grow

Firdaus Kanga, Author Trafalgar Square Publishing $23.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7475-0549-5
Scion of a Calcutta Parsee family, Daryus Kotwal was born with ``osteogenesis imperfecta,'' a disease that has condemned him to a diminutive stature and life in a wheelchair. Moreover, his bones are so brittle that he is nicknamed Brit. This first novel by Bombay-based Kanga is the breezy but touching account of Brit's adolescence and early adulthood. He must deal not only with the physical effects of his disease, but also with his image as a fragile, dependent boy. Constantly fluttering around Brit are his mother, Sera, his father, Sam, and his sister, Dolly, all Anglophiles whose insouciance and wit often seem to parody Noel Coward. Brit's overprotective family only reluctantly lets him cultivate his first friend, Cyrus, a young man who moves in next door. After a brief episode of sexual confusion over Cyrus, Brit finally falls for the latter's girlfriend, Amy. Meanwhile, he sails through college by correspondence and takes his first tentative steps as a writer. But just when he and Amy achieve intimacy, a double tragedy occurs, and Brit's self-reliance is severely tested. Although the narrative often skips lightly along the surface, it succeeds in conveying the protagonist's precarious physical and emotional equilibrium. Through Kanga's promising prose we observe Brit realize his greatest wish: to be seen as a man. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1991
Release date: 07/01/1991
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