A Strange and Sublime Address

Foreword by Colm Tóibín
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$16.95 US
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On sale May 14, 2024 | 264 Pages | 978-1-68137-808-4
Writer and musician Amit Chaudhuri’s elegant debut novel, in which an Indian ten-year-old experiences the entirely distinct experiences of life in Bombay, where his family lives, and Calcutta, where he visits relatives during his summer vacation.

Ten-year-old Sandeep lives in a high-rise in Bombay, where his father has an important job that keeps him busy all the time. Come summer, Sandeep and his mother travel to Calcutta to spend time with his aunt, his self-absorbed and improvident uncle, and Abhi, his favorite cousin. His relatives’ house is shadowy and rambling; the vast city around it ramshackle and alluring. They fascinate curious, observant Sandeep. Days pass; the heat grows; the rains come; the visit ends. In the winter, Sandeep and his family return to Calcutta—and encounter an unexpected turn of events. But Sandeep has arrived at a new sense of things, an understanding of how the marvelous inheres in the mundane, that will be his, we feel, for good. 

At once delicate and incisive, A Strange and Sublime Address succeeds in both immersing us in a boy’s inner world and depicting that boy and his world from outside. It was Amit Chaudhuri’s first book, the work of a novelist whose striking originality of conception would subsequently become ever more clear. The three decades since the publication of A Strange and Sublime Address have only confirmed its appeal and poetry.
"Those who are always rushing toward the 'magical realism' of a Rushdie should read Chaudhuri: here is real magic instead." —James Wood, The Guardian

"I read the book in one sitting and greatly enjoyed it." —Satyajit Ray

"Chaudhuri writes precisely, carefully, trying to capture in rhythms of his prose the faded happiness of things, the strange, pure remembered moments." —Carmen Callil and Colm Toíbín, The Modern Library: The 200 Best Novels in English Since 1950

"To read Chaudhuri is to offer yourself the unmitigated pleasure of being in the company of the absolutely first rate, to see again the possibilities of the novel as an art form." —Jim Harrison

"No lover of literature will fail to love these vivid novels by a master of prose." —Annie Dillard

"Through innovative metaphors and images, he brings the simplest aspects of life—a bath, a drive, an illness—to a new level." —The Boston Review

"Sentence by sentence, Amit Chaudhuri is a precise, sensual writer with a great gift for storytelling...at once radiant and revealing." —Ann Beattie
Amit Chaudhuri is Professor of Contemporary Literature at the University of East Anglia. He has written several works of fiction, a critical study of the poetry of D.H. Lawrence, and edited The Vintage Book of Modern Indian Literature. Among the many awards he has received are the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, and the Government of India’s Sahitya Akademi Award. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and is also a musician. View titles by Amit Chaudhuri

About

Writer and musician Amit Chaudhuri’s elegant debut novel, in which an Indian ten-year-old experiences the entirely distinct experiences of life in Bombay, where his family lives, and Calcutta, where he visits relatives during his summer vacation.

Ten-year-old Sandeep lives in a high-rise in Bombay, where his father has an important job that keeps him busy all the time. Come summer, Sandeep and his mother travel to Calcutta to spend time with his aunt, his self-absorbed and improvident uncle, and Abhi, his favorite cousin. His relatives’ house is shadowy and rambling; the vast city around it ramshackle and alluring. They fascinate curious, observant Sandeep. Days pass; the heat grows; the rains come; the visit ends. In the winter, Sandeep and his family return to Calcutta—and encounter an unexpected turn of events. But Sandeep has arrived at a new sense of things, an understanding of how the marvelous inheres in the mundane, that will be his, we feel, for good. 

At once delicate and incisive, A Strange and Sublime Address succeeds in both immersing us in a boy’s inner world and depicting that boy and his world from outside. It was Amit Chaudhuri’s first book, the work of a novelist whose striking originality of conception would subsequently become ever more clear. The three decades since the publication of A Strange and Sublime Address have only confirmed its appeal and poetry.

Reviews

"Those who are always rushing toward the 'magical realism' of a Rushdie should read Chaudhuri: here is real magic instead." —James Wood, The Guardian

"I read the book in one sitting and greatly enjoyed it." —Satyajit Ray

"Chaudhuri writes precisely, carefully, trying to capture in rhythms of his prose the faded happiness of things, the strange, pure remembered moments." —Carmen Callil and Colm Toíbín, The Modern Library: The 200 Best Novels in English Since 1950

"To read Chaudhuri is to offer yourself the unmitigated pleasure of being in the company of the absolutely first rate, to see again the possibilities of the novel as an art form." —Jim Harrison

"No lover of literature will fail to love these vivid novels by a master of prose." —Annie Dillard

"Through innovative metaphors and images, he brings the simplest aspects of life—a bath, a drive, an illness—to a new level." —The Boston Review

"Sentence by sentence, Amit Chaudhuri is a precise, sensual writer with a great gift for storytelling...at once radiant and revealing." —Ann Beattie

Author

Amit Chaudhuri is Professor of Contemporary Literature at the University of East Anglia. He has written several works of fiction, a critical study of the poetry of D.H. Lawrence, and edited The Vintage Book of Modern Indian Literature. Among the many awards he has received are the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, and the Government of India’s Sahitya Akademi Award. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and is also a musician. View titles by Amit Chaudhuri