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The "Weight Loss" programme

Author Upamanyu Chatterjee's fourth novel Weight Loss has a number of dark motifs.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2006 19:19 IST

Obesity and dieting are not the only motifs in Upamanyu Chatterjee's latest novel Weight Loss, which is also about amorous appetites and carnal cravings.

A "comedy of sexual and spiritual degradation", Chatterjee's fourth novel was released here Saturday with the author reading "two perfectly disgusting passages" from his book.

Bhola - the main protagonist who dies young - is a "nice man", says the novelist, except for his obsession with sex and romance. Bhola falls in love with all the wrong people, including men and women.

Weight Loss, Chatterjee explains, is not just about Bhola's adventures at aerobics and amour, it's also his appetite for his landlady, a vegetable vendor and even a eunuch.

The author's slot in the civil services has always lent itself to anecdotes that have appeared in his books - English, August, The Last Burden and The Mammaries Of A Welfare State, which won the Sahitya Akademi award last year.

"I'm not Sonu Nigam. Can't this just stop?" Chatterjee, 47, pleaded with photographers who kept the flashbulbs popping at the book launch held at the Terrace Gardens of Taj Mahal Hotel here.

Chatterjee also dismissed media queries, only condescending to say that the most recent book he had read was Allen Sealy's Trotternama.

Ravi Singh, editor-in-chief of Penguin Books India, pacified: "Be assured that he's got his next 15 years (as a writer) planned out."

First Published: Jan 27, 2006 21:44 IST