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.
Friend of My Youth begins with the novelist Amit Chaudhuri returning to Bombay, the city in which he grew up, to give a reading. Ramu, the friend of his youth, with whom he likes to get together when he comes back, is not there: after years of disabling drug addiction, Ramu has signed up for an intensive rehab program. But Amit Chaudhuri has errands to run in Bombay for his mother and wife, which take him back to the Taj Mahal Hotel, the site, not that long before, of a brutal terrorist attack.
Amit Chaudhuri writes novels the way an extraordinary instrumentalist makes music, stating and restating his themes, trying them out in different keys and to various effect, developing and dropping them, only to pick them up again and turn them completely around. He engages both our minds and our hearts. He makes us marvel. Friend of My Youth, his deceptively casual and continually observant and inventive new novel, makes us see and feel the great city of Bombay while bringing us into the quizzical, tender, rueful, and reflective sensibility of its central character, Amit Chaudhuri, not to be confused, we are told, with the novelist who wrote this book. Friend of My Youth reflects on the nature of identity, the passage of time, the experience of friendship, the indignities of youth and middle age, the lives of parents and children, and, for all the humor that seasons its pages, terror, the terror that can strike from nowhere, the terror that is a fact of daily life. Friend of My Youth is fearfully and wonderfully made.