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English, August: An Indian Story

Upamanyu Chatterjee

A 30th anniversary edition of English, August, hailed as India’s Catcher in the Rye.

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Agastya Sen, known to friends by the English name August, is a child of the Indian elite. His friends go to Yale and Harvard. August himself has just landed a prize government job, which takes him to Madna – a town with the highest temperatures in India – deep in the sticks. There he finds himself surrounded by incompetents and cranks, time wasters, bureaucrats, and crazies. What to do? Get stoned, shirk work, collapse in the heat, stare at the ceiling. Dealing with the locals turns out to be much easier than living with himself. English, August is a comic masterpiece from contemporary India.

Critic Reviews

Convincing, entertaining, moving – and timeless. A classic.

New York Times
Critic Reviews

Terrific . . . An elegant and gently mischievous satire.

Critic Reviews

An affectionate yet unsparing slacker view of modern India likened to John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces and J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye . . . A writer worth discovering.

Washington Post
Critic Reviews

One of the few Indian English novels genuinely, and wonderfully, impelled by irreverence and aimlessness. It’s this acutely intelligent conflation of self-discovery with the puncturing of solemnity that makes this book not only a significant work, but a much-loved one.

Amit Chaudhuri
Critic Reviews

Upamanyu Chatterjee’s is a considerable talent . . . exciting and a pleasure to read.

Times of India
Critic Reviews

Audacious . . . A jazzy, baggy, hyperbolic, comic and crazy clamour of voices which . . . brings a breath of fresh talent to Indian fiction.