MEMORIES OF RAIN by Sunetra Gupta
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A stunning, luminous debut set in Calcutta and London by a young, true heir to Virginia Woolf. The forward action of Gupta's hypnotic novel takes place during a single weekend: Calcutta-born Moni, despondent over her English husband's infidelity, secretly plans to take their daughter and return to India on the child's sixth birthday. But the stream-of-consciousness narrative weaves together memories and images, providing not just the history of a fragile love but of a woman's psychology and soul: Moni's brother first brings Anthony home in the rain-swollen dark of a Calcutta floodstorm. She and the English student fall in love, expecting an unconsummated passion and years of satisfying, sorrowful memories. Instead, they marry and make their home in London, where Moni--intense but too silent-soon disappoints. When Anthony begins to stray--even when his mistress becomes practically a member of the household--Moni believes his divided heart will add an edge to their painful, eternal love; she cannot bear it when his manner changes to kindness and indifference. Moni's sensibility--formed by the poetry (both English and Bengali) of anguished passion, darkness, and death--is the basis for gorgeous prose that flickers between romantic longing and exquisite detail. Gupta is impossible to quote briefly. In her sinuous sentences past and present, London and calcutta, reality and shadow and the painful phrases of Tagore songs melt into one another in long continuous streams. A rare shimmering dream of a book.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1992
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Grove Weidenfeld