Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard

by Kiran Desai | Literature & Fiction | This book has not been rated.
ISBN: 9780571193363 Global Overview for this book
Registered by prachitulshan of Kolkata, West Bengal India on 12/8/2009
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by prachitulshan from Kolkata, West Bengal India on Tuesday, December 08, 2009 Review
Pity the poor Chawla family of Shahkot, India--their son, Sampath causes all kinds of trouble for his family, culminating in a Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard, but in a village like Shakhot, hullabaloo is a way of life. Indian writer Kiran Desai begins her first novel with Sampath's birth at the tail-end of a terrible drought. His mother, Kulfi, half-maddened by heat and hunger, can think of nothing but food: "Her stomach grew larger. Her dreams of eating more extravagant. The house seemed to shrink. All about her the summer stretched white-hot into an infinite distance. Finally, in desperation for another landscape, she found a box of old crayons in the back of a cupboard and ... began to draw.... As her husband and mother-in-law retreated in horror, not daring to upset her or the baby still inside her, she drew a parade of cooks beheading goats." Sampath's father, Mr. Chawla is a man for whom "oddness, like aches and pains, fits of tears and lethargy" is a source of discomfort; he fears "these uncontrollable, messy puddles of life, the sticky humanness of things." This distaste for sticky humanness will prove problematic for Mr. Chawla later in life when his son grows up to become a young man possessed of a great deal of feeling and very little common sense or ambition.
Mr. Chawla's frustration comes to a head when Sampath loses his menial job at the post office after performing an impromptu cross-dressing strip-tease at his boss's daughter's wedding. Confined to the house in disgrace, Sampath runs away from home and takes refuge in the branches of a guava tree in an abandoned orchard outside of town. At first family and townsfolk think he's mad, but in an inspired moment of self-preservation Sampath, who had spent his time in the post office reading other people's mail, reveals some choice secrets about his persecutors and convinces them that he is, in fact, clairvoyant. It isn't long before Mr. Chawla sees the commercial possibilities of having a holy man in the family, and pretty soon the guava orchard has become the latest stop along the spiritual tourism trail.

Take one holy man in a guava tree, add a venal father, a food-obsessed mother and a younger sister in love with the Hungry Hop Kwality Ice Cream boy and you've got a recipe for delicious comedy. Mix in a rioting band of alcoholic monkeys, a journalist determined to expose Sampath as a fraud, an unholy trio of hypochondriac district medical officer, army general and university professor, all determined to solve the monkey problem, and you've got a real hullabaloo. Kiran Desai's delirious tale of love, faith, and family relationships is funny, smartly written, and reminiscent of other works by Indian authors writing in English such as Salman Rushdie's The Moor's Last Sigh, Banerjee Divakaruni's The Mistress of Spices and Shashi Tharoor's Show Business. --Alix Wilber

Was highly recommended by a good friend years ago, so on chancing upon it at a local bookseller's today while strolling in the market, I made sure to pick it up(and for a bargain too!)

Journal Entry 2 by prachitulshan from Kolkata, West Bengal India on Sunday, December 13, 2009
Just finished reading it. This novel is quite short, more like a long story...I feel it should have been more fleshed out. And while it was a good enough read, the ending left me slightly disappointed. However, most people love the book, so hopefully the next reader will have a more favourable review! Full points for the refreshingly captivating title though!

This book will soon be travelling to jumpingin for the Asian Lit. Virtual Book Box.

Released 9 yrs ago (8/20/2010 UTC) at Asian VBB, --by post or by hand (ie ring, ray, RABCK, trade) -- Controlled Releases


This book is finally on its way to jumpingin for Apoloniax's Asian VBB. Forgive me for the delay, hope you enjoy the book!

Journal Entry 4 by jumpingin at North Vancouver, British Columbia Canada on Thursday, September 09, 2010
Thanks so much, prachitulshan, for the book, the lovely postcard, and the labels and stickers! I'm looking forward to reading this and will pass it on when I'm done.

Journal Entry 5 by jumpingin at Vancouver, British Columbia Canada on Tuesday, May 03, 2011
This book was both sad and funny. The characters were strange, yet endearing.

It will soon be on its way to Minerva101, who chose it from the Flora and Fauna VBB.

Journal Entry 6 by jumpingin at Vancouver, British Columbia Canada on Thursday, May 05, 2011

Released 8 yrs ago (5/5/2011 UTC) at Vancouver, British Columbia Canada


On its way to Minerva101. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 7 by Minerva101 at Calgary, Alberta Canada on Wednesday, May 11, 2011
This book arrived in the mail today :)
Thank you so much for sending it to me, jumpingin. I have only read one other Man Booker winner, which was The Life of Pi, and LOVED it. We`ll see how I like this one. It`s kind of funny how I usually steer clear of award winners, yet inevitably enjoy them once read - go figure...

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