Novels by Anita Desai

A person needs a loads of patience and time in hand to read books by Anita Desai. Not just because they are difficult reads, but because they make you consider, mull, stop in between and reflect your state of mind and heart, and make you come back to the book/s in bits and parts.

I was introduced to Anita Desai by one of my library friend and the only thing which make me go through the book was its distinctive writing style, which keeps on amusing you at every moment of the book be it tragic, sadness or jealousy. The very first book was Fire on the Mountain, after which it was no looking back.

Anita Desai writes with candor- the feelings are usually stark and needs no explanation. The characters by her are often isolated/cocooned, living in their own selves, calm and comfortable in their skin and at times restless like any other character world be.

Had many debates and arguments with friends about her writing powers and why she should be given more credits for that.  Most of her novels are bleak but sometimes that is the bitter truth about human nature/life- there is also an unknown kindness that makes itself clearly in her works- from the relationship of the poet and his fan in “In Custody” to the delicate balance between a Great grandmother and her great granddaughter in “Fire on the Mountain”, which is retained over the course of the book.

Characters in Desai books are but human. They are shy, boisterous, awkward and often just want to live their lives isolated where there is no interference from the world.  Maybe this is the reason why her novels seems out of place in today’s time. The very much needed reason to read them. The books somehow provide the needed clam and quietness which is needed.

Remember reading, “Fire on the Mountains” with great apprehension. That can be applied to “Fasting, Feasting. All that was due to some underlying themes of desolation, loneliness and life not giving too many options or choices to the protagonists. Both the novels have the similar connotations- of being there and yet to have life of their own. This all is written without much feelings, so though you feel sorry for the characters and you do not feel the clog in your throat.  And for me this is the discreet attractiveness of her books. They will make you feel and that is more than enough.

One of my favorite Desai book has to be “Fire on the Mountain”. In a small town of Kasuli lives Nanda Kaul in her last years without any intrusion from outside world. Then her great-granddaughter is shipped to live with her. All the way through book they think they are different from each other, only till when their similarities came to surface along with pain, kindness, hurt, only ending in tragedy.

“In Custody”, the sensitivity of a poet’s last days and lost grandeur is illustrated with such pathos, that one could not help but cry in some portions of the book( not advocating Desai’s book but just stating the fact). The association between the poet and his longtime admirer is so subtle and so honest, that one begins to wonder and introspect about all relationships in that style only.

The mentioned books are probably the most poetic work by Desai. The vivid descriptions and scenes are not present in her other books. These books have less dialogue and much exquisite in the way all the characters behave and silently muse over the events which are unfolding around them. These are the true mark of Anita Desai’s Books – the quiet, the slowness and then unexpectedly series of events occur which changes the course of the character’s lives.

Books by Anita Desai are set in different times and worlds, and yet they ring so true for present times.  The grimness of life in “Fasting, Feasting”, the indifference but similar in “Fire on the Mountain”, the pathos of “In Custody”, all her novels are for strong heart people who can feel emotions and pain of the characters. Books by her is a jewel to be cherished and to keep and to go back again to admire as the years pass by.

Anita Desai is truly one of India’s creative and intellectual writers. A must readable author for all the literary fans.


Other Books by Anita Desai:




16 Books to Read Before the Movie Versions Come Out

News, News… Good News… You’ll have no shortage of books to read on the coming year 2015.

Books are the prequel to numerous upcoming major motion films these days. Somehow rather than to wait for the movie to come on screen, recharge your reading list in advance, and you’ll be the first one  to say that book  was better than the film.

Here’s your complete guide to the novel based movies which are in line to release in 2014 and 2015. The films are organized by their release date so you can pace your reading.


1. The Giver


Lois Lowry’s dystopian children’s book is being made into a movie for the first time, with Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges. The film comes out Aug. 15, 2014.

2. Gone Girl


Ben Affleck is starring in an adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s dark bestseller about a husband looking for his missing wife, with a cast that includes Rosamund Pike and Neil Patrick Harris. Gone Girl comes out Oct. 3, 2014.

3. Wild


Cheryl Strayed’s memoir about trying to get out of her downward spiral by naively embarking on the Pacific Crest Trail… despite having no hiking experience. Reese Witherspoon stars in the movie adaptation, which premieres Dec. 5, 2014.

4. Inherent Vice


Thomas Pynchon’s 1970-set stoner-noir thriller is getting the movie treatment from Paul Thomas Anderson, with a cast including Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon and Benicio Del Toro. Look for it on Dec. 12, 2014.

5.  Serena


Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star as a timber magnate and his wife in this Depression-era film based on the bestselling novel by Ron Rash. The film will premiere in 2014.

6.  Macbeth


Shakespeare’s tale of greed and ambition is getting a remake starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. The film will premiere in 2014.

7.  Suite Francaise


Based on the novel that follows a romance between a French woman and a German soldier in Nazi-occupied France, finally published 60 years after author Irène Némirovsky died in Auschwitz. Thisadaptation stars Michelle Williams and Matthias Schoenaerts and in 2014.

8.  Child 44


This film is based on Tom Rob Smith’s crime novel set in Soviet Russia stars Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke and Gary Oldman. The movie will premiere April 17, 2015.

9. Far From the Madding Crowd


Thomas Hardy’s classic novel is getting a gorgeous new adaptation starring Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdeen, with her three love interests played by Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge and Matthias Schoenaerts. Look for it on May 1, 2015.

10.  The Jungle Book


Disney is behind a much-anticipated live-action remake of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. The cast includes Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o and Ben Kingsley. Look for it on Oct. 9, 2015.

11.  Carol (based on the book The Price of Salt)


Patricia Highsmith’s lesbian thriller novel, is being adapted to film with Cate Blanchett leading a cast of Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson and Kyle Chandler. It’s expected to come out in 2015.

12.  Trash


Andy Mulligan’s children’s book about three third-world trash-pickers who find a treasure map is being made into a movie with Rooney Mara, Martin Sheen and Wagner Moura. The film has no U.S. release date so far.

13.  Truth (based on the book Truth and Duty)


This Cate Blanchett/Robert Redford movie is based on CBS television producer Mary Mapes’ non-fiction book Truth and Duty, recounting how she and anchorman Dan Rather were fired for reporting that George W. Bush evaded serving in the Vietnam War. The film has no U.S. release date so far.

14.   Miss Julie


Jessica Chastain takes on smart, fiery Julie in August Strindberg’s turn of the century play featuring a mind-blowing battle of the sexes. Opposite her is Colin Farrell. The film has no U.S. release date so far.

15. Every Secret Thing


Based on Laura Lippman’s thriller novel, this adaptation stars Diane Lane, Elizabeth Banks and Dakota Fanning. The film has no U.S. release date so far.

16.   Rosewater (based on the book Then They Came for Me)


Jon Stewart (yes, that one) is writing and directing this adaptation of this memoir by Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari detailing the true story of how he was arrested and tortured in prison for three months. The film has no U.S. release date so far.


Have something more to add in this list??? Please share it in comments box.