Group 2

By:- Upamanyu Chatterjee
First written & published in 1988
The author Upamanyu Chatterjee is a 1983 batch
IAS officer
Recounts the protagonist’s stint as a IAS officer
posted in a small district, Madna.
The book got a great cult following when it was
It adopts a unique style of writing and story telling.
A style not very commonly witnessed in the modern
Indian writings.
The author has portrayed the sense of dislocation and
alienation felt by the protagonist.
The protagonist Agastya, an IAS officer is posted in
an under developed, far-flung district.
The abysmal living conditions there unsettle him.
Agastya finds himself in a state of daze.
He is also struck by the laidback attitude of the
administrative community.
Born and bred in a metro, Agastya feels completely
The author describes Agastya’s growing sense of
boredom, frustration and farcical existence in
This is evident in the following lines …
“God, he was ......., weak, feverish, aching, in a
claustrophobic room, being ravaged by
mosquitoes, with no electricity, with no sleep, in a
place he disliked, totally alone, with a job that
didn’t interest him, in murderous weather,....... His
stomach contracted with his laugh. He wanted to
The story has varied and colourful episodes and
many nuanced characters.
The author brings a rare emotional nakedness and
searing honesty to Agastya’s internal
“The noise of jeep made sustainable conversation
impossible, which Agastya was happy. He could
slide down in his seat till neck, without chafing,
allow his mind into restlessness.”
The book reveals a detailed knowledge of the
Indian heartland.
The story draws from personal experiences of the
There are detailed descriptions of the socioeconomic scenario of a small town.
The descriptions are reminiscent of R.K. Narayan,
whose fiction was based on Malgudi.
These descriptions make the reader feel nostalgic
about the era gone by.
The protagonist Agastya is completely aimless and
refuses to be pinned down to any thought easily.
These lines describe his feelings…..
“ There wasn’t single thought in his head about
which he didn’t feel confused”.
Agastya is equally confused about his career
choice, and toys with the idea of seeking other
The author brilliantly captures a generation and
nation struggling to cope with globalization.
These lines profoundly describes this
“They are turning modern without warning, these
The obsession to copy the West blindly has been
brought out in these lines when Agastya
comments about his friend…
“He is the sort who would love to get AIDS just
because its raging in America.”
The author attempts to bring to fore the
corruption and dishonesty rooted in
The SP of Madna explains to Agastya in one of the
“In the government, there is nothing such as
absolute honesty there are only varying degrees
of dishonesty. All officers are more or less
The book also been converted into a movie with
the same title directed by Dev Benegal, starring
actor Rahul Bose.
This movie is considered as a landmark in the
contemporary Indian Cinema.
Critical Analysis
The book adopts a unique and interesting way of
story telling, which greatly appeals to the reader.
The author has brilliantly described the inner most
feelings of the protagonist.
The story is infused with many colourful episodes
which keeps the readers intrigued in spite of the
static life of Agastya.
The author’s stance in the novel is largely witty and
humorous, making it an interesting read.
The author brings a rare emotional nakedness
to his descriptions of the feelings of the various
characters, which at times seems to cross the
limits of morality.
The author has generously used cuss words and
sexually explicit passages, which make the book
unsuitable for the young readers.
Most of the characters in the story have a grey
shade and have been portrayed with a tinge of
Methodology and Presentation:
Upamanyu Chatterjee has used an assured English as well
as Hinglish.
He has utilized the local linguistic usage for presenting this
The narrative is a judicious mix of modern and traditional,
urban & rural, foreign and national.
The language is a balanced one and a glossary has been
provided at the end, to help readers understand the
Hinglishized words.
Presented By
Book review group 2
Anand kumar
Prashant chauhan
Shreya sengupta
Maria christu raja d.
Deepak dhanawat
Narendra babu s.
Nayantara sasikumar
Rajesh kumar
Swagata mitra
Kandarp patel
Thank You

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