Sunday, February 1, 2015

Fresh Ink: Spotlight on Debut Books of All Kinds

A highly charged fiction debut about a young woman in India, and the love that both shatters and transforms her

She is twenty, restless in New Delhi. Her mother has died; her father has left for Singapore.

He is a few years older, just back to India from New York.

When they meet in a café one afternoon, she—lonely, hungry for experience, yearning to break free of tradition—casts aside her fears and throws herself headlong into a love affair, one that takes her where she has never been before.

Told in a voice at once gritty and lyrical, mournful and frank, A Bad Character marks the arrival of an astonishingly gifted new writer. It is an unforgettable hymn to a dangerous, exhilarating city, and a portrait of desire and its consequences as timeless as it is universal.

Read an excerpt HERE. 

Wild At Heart

Shelfie with Deepti Kapoor, author of A Bad Character 

Deepti Kapoor's  Book Notes Playlist for Her Novel A Bad Character

Praise for the book:
“Riveting . . . Kapoor’s debut novel is a coming-of-age tale as complex, gritty and frankly terrifying as Delhi, the city that forms its backdrop. A 19-year-old college student leads a relatively unexciting life in Delhi, where her father sent her to live with a wealthy aunt after the death of her mother and his own absconding to Singapore. It’s here, in the city of her exile, that she meets her nameless boyfriend: American-accented and charismatic—we’re told from the beginning that he dies by her 21st birthday; she becomes addicted to him and his doomed promises of adventure. The non-linear story takes cues from moody European New Wave cinema and Baudelaireian prose poetry, but its mongrel influences makes for a cohesive, and thoroughly modern, tale.” ~Bustle

“The narrator of Kapoor’s debut novel is young and middle-class. Her car allows a measure of freedom, but not enough, and when she meets a somewhat unsuitable older man, the temptation to capsize her life with an affair is irresistible. Both a coming-of-age story and a portrait of New Delhi.” ~The Millions

“Riveting . . . Kapoor’s debut follows a young woman’s personal journey amid the shifting, often gritty landscape of modern-day Delhi. At a café one day, the beautiful 20-year-old protagonist—a self-described loner—is approached by an unnamed man to whom she is inexplicably drawn despite his unattractive physical features. Thus sparks an intense, at times discomfiting relationship that begins to pull the narrator away from her conventional life, as she becomes increasingly exposed and lured to the darker recesses of the city and its inhabitants. An intimate, raw exploration of [a] profound transformation.” ~Booklist

“Haunting . . . a beguiling, hallucinatory experience, at once unsettling and intimate. This is a novel about sexuality and escape, belonging and emptiness. It is about a man and woman who drive around the intestines of Delhi—eating, making love, falling apart. It is also about disenfranchisement, about how a woman might feel in Delhi regardless of her privilege or access. A Bad Character is an astounding book: read it with the scent of diesel in your nostrils and red dust in your mouth.” ~The New Indian Express

“The meeting between a restless young woman and a manipulative, worldly man in Delhi ignites a volatile, ill-fated love story. The nameless female narrator meets a man in a café. Ugly he may be, and a liar too, it emerges, but the man knows Delhi inside out, has wealth, confidence and a wild streak, and woos her slowly but thoroughly. Kapoor boosts her slender coming-of-age story with flashes of Delhi in 2000, a place of economic ferment in some quarters, while elsewhere, the teeming centuries-old ways continue. This novel is at its most impressive in its evocation of a dazzling, dangerous cityscape.”  ~Kirkus

“A tightly rendered story of a young woman’s awakening in contemporary India. The unnamed female narrator, ‘twenty and untouched’ when her mother dies, is sent by her absentee father to live with a relative in a modest Delhi apartment. One day she meets a rich, rebellious, darker-skinned young man from a different social class and subsequently begins a torrid affair with him. In clipped, haunting paragraphs, she tells of her discovery of a gritty, thrilling India that she never knew existed. The tension that the affair will be exposed becomes almost unbearable. [But] Kapoor takes the story in darker and tragic directions [even as] the prose becomes more ruminative and elliptical. The story and the style are reminiscent of Marguerite Duras’s The Lover, but when fused with the vivid Delhi scenes, Kapoor’s novel ventures into exciting and original territory.” ~Publishers Weekly

Wild at heart

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