Mahesh Rao

The Smoke is Rising

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The future is here. India has just sent its first spacecraft to the moon, and the placid city of Mysore is gearing up for its own global recognition with the construction of HeritageLand – Asia’s largest theme park. From behind the formidable gates of Mahalakshmi Gardens to the shanty houses on the edge of town, the people of Mysore are abuzz as they watch their city prepare for a complete transformation. Susheela, an elderly widow, is forced into a secretive new life. Uma, trying to escape her painful past, learns the lasting power of local gossip. And Mala must finally confront the reality of her husband's troubling behaviour. Savagely funny and deeply poignant, The Smoke is Rising is a riveting portrait of a city hurtling toward an epic clash of modernity and tradition, and all the wandering souls – some hopeful, some broken, and a few somewhere in between – who find themselves caught in the middle. ‘A darkly comic novel . .. Rao veers between sharp, economic dialogue that can be both hilarious and disquieting, and set-piece extravaganzas crammed with colour.’ – Spectator ‘An auspicious debut – its comedy is dry and biting, its perceptiveness acute, and its picture of India ringingly truthful.’ – Neel Mukherjee ‘The medieval and the modern India are depicted here as co-existing, and Rao has succeeded in capturing this with delicacy and insight.’ – Times Literary Supplement ‘A subtle, tender and withering portrait of a society in confused transition. This is an exceptionally accomplished novel.’ – Siddartha Deb
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319 printed pages
Original publication
2014
Publisher
Daunt Books

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