An intensely personal novel about childhood, memory, and history by one of today's most celebrated authors, now available in the US for the first time.
Amit Chaudhuri has long blurred the boundaries between fact and fiction, seeking to turn the novel into a form not only of reflection but also of storytelling, a nuanced and humorous way of taking stock and weighing the unknown quantity that is anyone's life. In Friend of My Youth, the narrator, Amit Chaudhuri (a novelist who is not to be confused with Amit Chaudhuri the novelist) is in Bombay, where he lived and went to school as a child and teenager: Hailing as he and his family do from Calcutta, he was never exactly home there although their home was there. That was long ago, however, and Bombay is now a different Bombay, just as his own childhood looks different through the lens of intervening years. And there's another difference now: The old friend he always visited on returns to Bombay has fallen prey to a drug habit and is no longer there—and so another link with the past is broken. Amit wanders the streets of Bombay, reflects on the terrorist takeover of the glamorous Taj Mahal Hotel, runs errands for his wife and mother, remembers his father, misses his friend. Friend of My Youth is suffused with both sly humor and a deep melancholy, as it delicately explores the nature of friendship, the mystery of identity, and the passage of time.
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