Aug 20, Philip rated it liked it In her novel, Fasting, Feasting, Anita Desai eventually accomplishes what many writers attempt and then fail to achieve. She uses light touch, simple language, uncomplicated structure, but at the same time addresses some very big issues and makes a point.
Plot summary[ edit ] Anita Desai's novel of intricate family relations plays out in two countries, India and the United States. The core characters comprise a family living in a small town in India, where provincial customs and attitudes dictate the future of all children: The story focuses on the life of the unmarried and main character, Uma, a spinster, the family's older daughter, with Arun, the boy and Fastin feasting of the family.
Uma spends her life in subservience to her older demanding parents, while massive effort and energy is expended to ensure Arun's education and placement in a university in Massachusetts. In part two we[ who? Therefore, we can compare and contrast between the Indian and the American culture.
Rather a series of events from a life than a complexly plotted work. We follow the fortunes of Uma and Arun as they engage with family and strangers and the intricacy Fastin feasting day to day living.
The novel is in two parts. The first part is set in India and is focused on the life of Uma who is the overworked daughter of Mama and Papa. She is put upon by them at every turn, preparing food, running errands. In the early part of the novel we see her struggling at school. She is not very bright but loves the sisters who teach and appreciate her.
Finally she is made to leave school and serve her parents. We meet many interesting characters through her; Ramu-Bhai a travelling bon viveur who tries to show Uma a good time.
He is banished by her parents. Another character is the religious Mira Masi who tells Uma all the tales of Krishna and takes her to the ashram allowing her to escape her mother's domination for a time.
Uma's parents attempt to marry her off on three occasions; on the first occasion the chosen man fell for Uma's younger sister, Aruna. On the second her parents accept her marriage on behalf of her before finding out later that their dowry has been spent and the engagement is cancelled.
On the third occasion a marriage took place but it turns out the Uma's new husband already has a wife. She lives with his sisters while he lives in another town spending her dowry on his ailing business.
Uma's father quickly spirits her home.
We are also told of the episode of Anamika's Uma's cousin sad fate. She has won a scholarship to Oxford but her parents insist that she get married. She does and fails to please her husband by providing him with children. He keeps her for a time as a servant but eventually she dies by burning.
It is strongly hinted that her in-laws killed her. The final scene of Part 1 is the immersion of Anamika's ashes in the sacred river. We are left with great sympathy for Uma and her simple kindness as she survives as best she can in a not altogether friendly world. In Part 2 we meet Arun, Uma's privileged brother.
He is attending college in America and during summer holidays he lives with the Pattons an all American family. Again, plot is not complex or intricate. The events are told in a serial manner as Arun encounters them. Of note is his intense dislike of American food and cooking methods.Fasting, Feasting tells the story of a unmarried woman Uma, who waits hand and foot on two parents who continually abuse her emotionally and through benign neglect.
I enjoy reading about different cultures. I have enjoyed other novels featuring life in India, but Fasting Feasting is the first disappointment/5. "Fasting, Feasting presents" apparent opposites, two contrast It is a story about two dysfunctional families in two different cultures.
The first section of the book is set in India, and the second in the USA/5.
Fasting, Feasting is a novel by Indian writer Anita Desai, first published in in Great Britain by Chatto and Windus. It was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for fiction in In his wilderness fast Jesus was at his strongest point! He showed us that fasting is feasting if you meditate on God's life-giving word.
‘Fasting and Feasting’ is broadly appealing as it explores her life and philosophy. A valuable resource on Gray’s early life and career as a journalist, the book, incorporating meticulous research, bears much fruit/5(10).
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