A year after his divorce, Jayojit Chatterjee, an economics professor in the American Midwest, travels to his native Calcutta with his young son, Bonny, to spend the summer holidays with his parents. Jayojit is no more accustomed to spending time alone with Bonny–who lives with his mother in California–than he is with the Admiral and his wife, whose daily rhythms have become so synchronized as to become completely foreign to their son. Together, the unlikely foursome struggles to pass the protracted hours of summer, each in his or her own way mourning Jayojit’s failed marriage. And as Jayojit walks the bustling streets of Calcutta, he finds himself not only caught between clashing memories of India and America, but also between different versions of his life, revisiting lost opportunity, realized potential, and lingering desire.
As he did in his acclaimed trilogy Freedom Song, Amit Chaudhuri lovingly captures life’s every detail on the page while infusing the quiet interactions of daily existence with depth and compassion.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: A New World: A Novel|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
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|Publisher: Random House, Inc.|
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|Parent title||A New World: A Novel|
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A New World: A Novel
He had come back in April, the aftermath of the lawsuit and court proceedings in two countries still fresh, the voices echoing behind him. But he felt robust.
'Here,' he said to the taxi driver that day in April - it was a Tuesday - when he arrived. His son was staring out of the window, as if a taxi were the most natural place to be in, apparently unaffected by its rusting window-edges and its noise. It was eleven o'clock in the morning; it should be ten o'clock now the previous night in America.
'Stop here,' said Jayojit to the taxi driver. 'Kitna hua?' he asked.
Vikram - that was his son's name, his maternal grandfather's choice - said, 'Are we here, baba?'
Though they spoke to each other in English, both Jayojit and his wife (ex-wife now? but she had still not married the man she was living with) had decided to retain, as far as their son was concerned, the Bengali appellations for mother and father: 'ma' and 'baba'. Ironical, thought Jayojit - he thought about these questions more and more these days; indeed, he could often hear himself thinking - that we did not think to teach him, at least in practice, the other things that surround those words in our culture. He himself had learnt those meanings from the lives of his parents. It was curious how often he returned to his childhood and growing up these days, involuntarily, to their apparently random and natural sequence.
'Seventy-five rupees,' said the driver, turning his head and smiling; the man hadn't shaved for a few days. It was as if the taxi were his home and he had long not stepped out of it.
'Seventy-five rupees,' repeated Jayojit with a chuckle, while the driver...