English, August

I am currently reading English, August by Upamanyu Chatterjee.

English, August is a story of one Agastya, 24, who has just enrolled in the prestigious IAS programme and is now posted in an obscure place in the middle of no where called Madna.

He is what a typical 24 year old is – restless, sceptical, flippant, whimsical, confused, disillusioned with life, and disconnected with reality.

Agastya has an interesting life. Son of a Bengali father and a Goanese mother, he has grown up in boarding school in Darjeeling. If all this did not provide him with enough novelty and variety, after his IAS, he is sent to a fictitious small town called Madna where the world is diametrically opposite to what he has ever seen. Some cope well with change and some don’t. Agastya falls into the later category. Most of the times, he is just irritated at how things are going around him. But at times he has those light-bulb-flashing-in-head moments when he discovers strange rituals and practises.

Although he was driven by his father to take up civil services, his father just wants to see him happy. He has a friend who is too critical about everything. He has an uncle who has an opinion on everything.

And then above everyone else, he has his personality where he has no magnanimous ambitions. He thinks he can stay content without owning the biggest business empire. He thinks he will be happy with record player and records from Tagore and Pink Floyd.

The first few pages tend to be boring but somewhere during this boredom, the life of Agastya starts looking interesting. All of a sudden, you want to know whats going to happen next. You want to know what would Agastya do next. More, you start predicting.

The book actually gets funny at times. I am not sure how many readers would appreciate the dry humor in the book but I certainly loved it.

Here is a thought provoking statement
Decide for yourself, it’s your nightmare. Or just live with the indecision, everyone does it all the time, you’ll get used to it soon enough. Then, when you ever take any snap decisions, you’ll feel odd, like withdrawal symptoms or something
Bottomline: Upamanyu chatterjee has done a good job with the book. I would rate the book as 4 on 5. Must Read!


Anonymous said...

was searching for a review of english, august on the blogs. This blog caught my attention not only coz its the first to appear on the google blog search but also the name.. Anyway, abt the book, I have almost finished the book and I love it already. Its one of the best told(rather written)stories. I love the monologue like parts and the ofcourse the humour and satire. But y am I writing this here ? ... (agastya style :))

SG said...


Please leave your name and email address (if you can still read it)...


shweta said...


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