Friend of My Youth by Amit ChaudhuriIn Friend of My Youth, a novelist named Amit Chaudhuri visits his childhood home of Bombay. The city, reeling from the impact of the 2008 terrorist attacks, weighs heavily on his mind, as does the unexpected absence of his childhood friend Ramu, a drifting, opaque figure who is Amits last remaining connection to the city he once called home.
Amit Chaudhuris new novel is about geographical, historical and personal change. It asks a question we all grapple with in our lives: what does it mean to exist in both the past and the present? It is a striking reminder that, as the Guardian has said, Chaudhuri has been pushing away at form, trying to make something new of the novel.
Friend of My Youth by Amit Chaudhuri review – autofiction examined
Amit Chaudhuri is a reliably brilliant narrator in his Bombay-set novel about nothing and everything. The English language and the English novel are flourishing in India. Sometimes that flourishing is a bit excessive, exuberance and linguistic facility leading to overblown description, larger-than-life — and therefore smaller than living — characters, verbosity and the improbabilities that are excused as exercises in magic realism. This can get wearying. Amit Chaudhuri is a different sort of Indian novelist: cool, elegant, given to understatement and more concerned to examine and present the nature of experience than to soar into wild fancy. It gives a wonderfully comic account of its characters, but it is also an assemblage — of moments, of different kinds of awareness of the world, and even of writing.
Ramu, the friend of his youth, with whom he likes to get together when he comes back, is not there: after years of disabling drug addiction, Ramu has signed up for an intensive rehab program. But Amit Chaudhuri has errands to run in Bombay for his mother and wife, which take him back to the Taj Mahal Hotel, the site, not that long before, of a brutal terrorist attack. Amit Chaudhuri writes novels the way an extraordinary instrumentalist makes music, stating and restating his themes, trying them out in different keys and to various effect, developing and dropping them, only to pick them up again and turn them completely around. He engages both our minds and our hearts. He makes us marvel. Friend of My Youth , his deceptively casual and continually observant and inventive new novel, makes us see and feel the great city of Bombay while bringing us into the quizzical, tender, rueful, and reflective sensibility of its central character, Amit Chaudhuri, not to be confused, we are told, with the novelist who wrote this book. Amit Chaudhuri is a novelist, essayist, poet, and musician.
The Sydney Morning Herald
Friend of My Youth by Amit Chaudhuri. Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review 's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge and remind and warn you that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure. The complete review 's Review :. The narrator of Friend of My Youth eventually catches up with himself and his undertaking, describing near the end how he is writing a novel with a title taken from an Alice Munro story that he hasn't read.