Kiran Desai's first novel, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard, was published to unanimous acclaim in over twenty-two countries. Now Desai takes us to the northeastern Himalayas where a rising insurgency challenges the old way of life. In a crumbling, isolated house at the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga lives an embittered old judge who wants to retire in peace when his orphaned granddaughter Sai arrives on his doorstep. The judge's chatty cook watches over her, but his thoughts are mostly with his son, Biju, hopscotching from one New York restaurant job to another, trying to stay a step ahead of the INS, forced to consider his country's place in the world. When a Nepalese insurgency in the mountains threatens Sai's new-sprung romance with her handsome Nepali tutor and causes their lives to descend into chaos, they, too, are forced to confront their colliding interests. The nation fights itself. The cook witnesses the hierarchy being overturned and discarded. The judge must revisit his past, his own role in this grasping world of conflicting desires-every moment holding out the possibility for hope or betrayal. A novel of depth and emotion, Desai's second, long-awaited novel fulfills the grand promise established by her first.
Winner of the 2006 Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction for her second novel The Inheritance of Loss, Kiran Desai is one of the most talented writers of her generation. Now available for the first time as a Grove Press paperback, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard--Desai's dazzling debut novel--is a wryly hilarious and poignant story that simultaneously captures the vivid culture of the Indian subcontinent and the universal intricacies of human experience. Sampath Chawla was born in a time of drought into a family not quite like other families, in a town not quite like other towns. After years of failure at school, failure at work, of spending his days dreaming in tea stalls, it does not seem as if Sampath is going to amount to much--until one day he climbs a guava tree in search of peaceful contemplation and becomes unexpectedly famous as a holy man, sending his tiny town into turmoil. A syndicate of larcenous, alcoholic monkeys terrorize the pilgrims who cluster around Sampath's tree, spies and profiteers descend on the town, and none of Desai's outrageous characters goes unaffected as events spin increasingly out of control.