The Last Burden
A fascinating portrayal of life in an Indian middle-class family by the best-selling author of English, August Upamanyu Chatterjee's second novel brilliantly recreates life in an average Indian family at the end of the twentieth century. Jamun, the central character, is a young man, unmarried, adrift. He stays away from his family, which comprises his parents, Urmila and Shyamanand, his elder brother, Burfi, his sister-in-law, Joyce, his two nephews and the children's ayah. Jamun returns to the family when his mother is hospitalized. Once there, he decides to stay on until one of his ailing parent dies. He barely admits to himself that there is another, probably stronger, reason for his extended stay in the family home- an old friend Kasturi, now married and pregnant, who has returned to the city (that she associates with Jamun) . . . Flitting back and forth in time and space, and writing in a language of unsurpassed richness and power, Upamanyu Chatterjee presents a funny, bitterly accurate and vivid portrait of the awesome burden of family ties.