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The Artist of Disappearance

Three Novellas

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Award-winning novelist Anita Desai explores time and transformation in these three artful novellas.

The internationally acclaimed author ruminates on art and memory, illusion and disillusion, and the sharp divide between life’s expectations and its realities in three perfectly etched novellas. Set in India in the not-too-distant past, the stories’ dramas illuminate the ways in which Indian culture can nourish or suffocate. All are served up with Desai’s characteristic perspicuity, subtle humor, and sensitive writing.
Overwhelmed by their own lack of purpose, the men and women who populate these tales set out on unexpected journeys that present them with a fresh sense hope and opportunity. Like so many flies in a spider’s web, however, they cannot escape their surroundings—as none of us can. An impeccable craftsman, Desai elegantly reveals our human frailties and the power of place. 

Publishers Weekly Review

Sep 12, 2011 – Desai’s unsettling collection of novellas explores the slow, threatening creep of outside influence into closed communities. In “The Museum of Final Journeys,” an isolated bureaucrat is confronted with a “chamber of death,” a remote, bizarre museum full of embalmed, stuffed animals. “Translator Translated” obliquely explores colonial politics when Prema, a professor specializing in Suvarna Devi, an obscure writer writing in Oriya, Prema’s native language, befriends a glamorous former classmate by offering to translate Devi’s work into English. But by doing so, she comes under fire for not only bringing the text into the language of the colonizers but also for crippling the writer’s work. The elliptical titular story explores the origins of a hermetic man, the last of an unhappy family. The man wants nothing to do with the outside world, but has an ornate garden a trio of students want to film. As the landscape resists them, so the students come to resent each other’s demands and wish to forget the disrespect they’ve visited upon the reclusive inhabitants. Desai (Village by the Sea) treads lightly, at times too lightly, but at its best this collection leaves an indelible impression of the conflicts and ambitions found in a region riddled with conflict.
The Artist of Disappearance
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Dec 13, 2011
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Seller: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
  • Print Length: 176 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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