Nominated for the Booker Prize in the year that it was originally published, Anita Desai’s In Custody is a thought provoking novel about the complexities of human nature, portrayed through the unusual alliance that transpires between an ailing urdu poet and an ordinary small town lecturer who, seeking an escape from his mundane existence, cultivates a profound desire to be the custodian of the poet’s body of work.
Summary Of The Book
Deven, one of the main characters of In Custody, lives a meagre existence teaching Hindi Literature to a group of disinterested students, in a small town of Mirpore. Bored with his mundane life, as his real interest lies in Urdu Poetry, he is positively thrilled when one day, out of the blue, he is presented with the opportunity to meet one of India’s greatest Urdu poets Nur, and possibly, even interview him.
Seeing this as a chance of a lifetime, to escape from his own ordinary life, he can not wait to meet the great Nur. Acting on the advice of his friend Murad, who is the editor of a local periodical that publishes Urdu Literature, Deven begins preparing for his meeting with the poet. He procures a second hand tape recorder that he feels would be of use in transcribing Urdu poetry written by the great Nur, and also imagines approaching the poet to write his memoirs and carry out interviews.
However, as things rarely go as planned, the meeting turns out to be quite different from what he had expected, in fact, as he discovers, the great poet Nur is not above vulnerabilities or weaknesses, including wives that don’t get along and self-serving flatterers who seem to be taking advantage of him.
A touching account of the gradual depletion and diminishing of our culture in the face of modernisation, as well as the complex nature of human bonding and relationships, In Custody was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for fiction in 1984, and in 1993, a film In Custody, based on the book, was produced by Merchant Ivory productions and starred Shashi Kapoor in the role of Nur.
About Anita Desai
Prolific Indian writer Anita Desai is a 3 time Booker Prize Nominee, and works as Professor of Humanities at the Massachusetts Institute Of Technology, U.S.A..
An avid writer since an early age, Desai wrote her first novel Cry, The Peacock in 1963. Other popular novels written by her include, Clear Light Of Day, Village By The Sea, Baumgartner’s Bombay, Fasting, Feasting, Diamond Dust and Other Stories, The ZigZag Way, and The Artist Of Disappearance.
Born in Mussoorie, India, in 1937, to a Bengali father and German mother, Anita Desai was multi-lingual since a young age and fluent in English, Hindi, German, Bengali, and Urdu. She studied English Literature at Miranda House, University of Delhi. She was the recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1978, as well as the British Guardian Prize. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society Of Literature, and Girton College, Cambridge University.
Funny and literary
Pempa Doma Sherpa
Certified Buyer, Kalimpong
Certified Buyer, Usgao
Certified Buyer, Tinsukia
27 days ago
Certified Buyer, Raiganj
27 days ago
Certified Buyer, Mettur
1 month ago
Certified Buyer, Villupuram
1 month ago
Certified Buyer, Pune
2 months ago