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Sly Company of People Who Careby Rahul Bhattacharya
Synopses & Reviews
In flight from the tame familiarity of home in Bombay, a twenty-six-year-old cricket journalist chucks his job and arrives in Guyana, a forgotten colonial society of raw, mesmerizing beauty. Amid beautiful, decaying wooden houses in Georgetown, on coastal sugarcane plantations, and in the dark rainforest interior scavenged by diamond hunters, he grows absorbed with the fantastic possibilities of this new place where descendants of the enslaved and indentured have made a new world. Ultimately, to fulfill his purpose, he prepares to mount an adventure of his own. His journey takes him beyond Guyanese borders, and his companion will be the feisty, wild-haired Jan.
In this dazzling novel, propelled by a singularly forceful voice, Rahul Bhattacharya captures the heady adventures of travel, the overheated restlessness of youth, and the paradoxes of searching for lifes meaning in the escape from home.
The Sly Company of People Who Care is the winner of the 2012 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and the 2011 Hindu Literary Prize. It was shortlisted for 2011 The Man Asian Literary Prize and the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize, and was selected as a Kansas City Star Best Fiction Book of the Year and a Kirkus Best Fiction Book of the Year.
"The narrator of this debut, an Indian national, is a 22-year-old cricket reporter who has left Bombay to explore Guyana's exotic landscape and people ('Guyana was elemental, water and earth, mud and fruit, rape and crime, innocent and full of scoundrels'), many of whom he befriends. In vigorous yet lyrical prose employing a pungent vernacular, Bhattacharya describes Guyana's horrid heat and thunderous rain in sensuous detail: the pretentious, decaying buildings of its capital, the unbearable humidity that settles on the men who go 'porknocking,' or searching for diamonds in the muddy soil. Violence breaks out easily during nights of drinking, yet people care about strangers. The narrator falls for a seductive young woman, but their first trip together — to Venezuela — veers from romance to threat when he re-enters Guyana without papers. In fact, a dark undercurrent of dread haunts the novel, and what begins as a desultory adventure story delivers the shock of multiple betrayals. Bhattacharya's distinctive voice, which incorporates both Guyanese and Indian dialects, results in an authentic and sybaritic tale. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWxyz LLC)
"So original and spirited, so thrillingly alive . . . An exhilarating first novel." —Minneapolis Star TribuneA twenty-six-year-old cricket journalist chucks his job in Bombay and arrives in Guyana, a forgotten colonial society of raw, mesmerizing beauty. Amid the alluring decay of Georgetown, on coastal sugarcane plantations, and in dark rain forests scavenged by diamond hunters, he grows absorbed with the fantastic possibilities of this new place, and prepares to mount an adventure of his own, quite beyond Guyanese borders. A dazzling novel propelled by a singularly energetic and inventive voice, The Sly Company of People Who Care is "entertaining, smart, irreverent about race and place, and well written in the extreme" (The Boston Globe).
About the Author
Born in 1979, Rahul Bhattacharya is the author of the cricket-tour book Pundits from Pakistan, which was voted one of the Ten Best Cricket Books of all time in The Wisden Cricketer (London). He lives in Delhi, India. This is his first novel.
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