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A twentieth-century odyssey

This is the story of Amit, the twentieth-century Odysseus, who leaves India to begin his journey into "Life".

india Updated: May 04, 2006 18:39 IST

Confessions of an Indian Woman Eater
by Sasthi Brata
Publisher: by Penguin Books India
Price: Rs 295.00
ISBN: 0143061879
Format: Paperback

‘I now realize that leaving home was a gesture, like goodbye notes from failed suicides.'

Amit Ray leaves his upper-class home in India with nine books in his bag and seventy rupees in his pocket, beginning his journey into ‘Life’. His story runs a hectic course, from Calcutta to New Delhi and, after a poignant and disastrous Italian interlude, on to London whores, scatological misadventures, Paris, København and back to London. In-between he works variously as a shoeshine boy, cub reporter, lavatory attendant, engineer and writer. The twentieth-century Odysseus, Amit is obsessed with that contraband comestible—Woman. Adam-and-Eve confrontations lead the hero into situations which are in turn lurid, erotic, pathetic, tender and sometimes outrageously hilarious.

 
Cover of Confessions of an Indian Woman Eater

Like a beaver, Amit noses his way into that elusive enclave, the ‘Hampstead intellectual circuit’, and learns of the tribal customs, unspoken dogmas and ambiguous hostilities of fellow humans who would feign to know all the answers. And like the proverbial cork, he bobs up and down but never sinks. At the end of the story we find him packing his bags to revisit the land of his birth. There is a hint of thirst quenched. But if we have come to know the hero at all, we must assume that it is only a calm before another storm.

First Published: May 04, 2006 18:39 IST