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MERRY ON LITTLE THINGS by Amit Banerjea

MERRY ON LITTLE THINGS

By Amit Banerjea

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 1936
ISBN: 1-4107-9821-6

A lighthearted memoir that recounts the author's childhood in India and touches upon his experiences living as an immigrant in England and the U.S.

As the title suggests, Banerjea highlights the good things he had in life rather than the hardships–little things, such as his favorite foods, learning to fly a kite, making new friends and visiting relatives. Indeed, the author tends to glaze over difficult issues, such as the volatile political situation during the independence movement in India and the subsequent partition. Banerjea focuses on family–such as his courageous, proud grandmother, who broke free from long-standing social mores regarding the lowly status of widows–and lazy, hot afternoons spent with friends, important pujas (religious rituals), long lost classmates and old colleagues. Interspersed between these tales, he chronicles, in almost anthropological detail, his initial experiences as a member of the Diaspora–finding a job, making new friends, developing a sense of community. Instead of concentrating on his overwhelming loneliness or his experiences with racism, he discusses social functions and going sailing. Despite the grammatical errors and clunky language, the narrative rides easily along on the strength of Banerjea’s simple yet poignant remembrances.

Repetition and superficiality aside, a pleasant read. Each tale flows from one into the next, much like the days of which he writes.