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Odysseus Abroad


It’s 1985. Twenty-two-year-old Ananda has been a student in London for two years, practicing at being a poet. He's homesick, thinks of himself as an inveterate outsider, and yet he can't help feeling that there is something romantic about his isolation. His uncle, Radhesh is a magnificent failure and an eccentric virgin who has lived in genteel impoverishment in Hampstead for nearly three decades.

Over the course of one day, we follow Ananda and Radhesh on one of their weekly forays about town. Weaving back and forth in time, Chaudhuri gradually reveals the background to the two men’s lives with deft precision and humour as they walk through London together, circling around their respective pasts and futures, and finding in one another an unspoken solace.

Written in a voice that is tender, wry and unsentimental, ­Odysseus Abroad is a lyrical and modern exploration of loneliness and failure – as well as a love letter to Homer and Joyce – by one of our most celebrated writers.

  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (February 5, 2015)
  • Length: 256 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781780746227

'beautifully drawn...a pleasant read'.

– Tribune

'The story feels quiet and polite but it resonates. Superb.'

– Evening Standard

'Chaudhuri plunders Ulysses and The Odyssey, joyfully borrowing from both iconic Western texts to create something fresh and new.'

– Sunday Herald

'Intelligent and funny'

– London Review of Books

'very funny'

– New Humanist

‘A brilliantly delicate London novel… an absolutely wonderful book’

– The Idler

'Easily followed and lucidly expressed… Amit Chaudhuri is on top form’

– The Lady

‘A beautifully written novel that weaves in Indian history with a fabulously observed portrait of 1980s migrant London’

– Metro

‘Gentle, restrained’

– Prospect

‘Richly allusive… It is not the novel’s plot, but its rhythmic prose, interwoven with musical and poetical references, that most engages… a witty narrative filled with wandering and wondering’

– Observer

‘Chaudhuri is incisive and humorous on the experience of moving from a former colony to Eighties London… Some small details particularly thrill’

– Daily Telegraph

‘very elegant… Amit Chaudhuri is a master of the slow-moving meditation, laced with precise exasperation… very funny… For all the jokes about literature this is a most literary novel. Yet it is witty, effortlessly fluid… a pleasure to read… sustained by a fierce intelligence’

– Irish Times

‘Rhadesh’s attempts to assimilate into English culture are funny and he clearly enjoys strange English customs… Like Homer and Joyce, Chaudhuri is good at writing about food’

– Herald

‘Delightfully witty… luminously intelligent… Odysseus Abroad has placed itself, with erudition and playfulness, on the map of modernism’

– Neel Mukherjee, Guardian

‘In the eccentric Radhesh, Chaudhuri gives us something special… a little gem not to be missed’

– Daily Mail

‘A stunningly engaging novel where Naipaul meets Amis and Joyce visits Thatcher's England. Wittingly inventive, deeply moving, it's Chaudhuri’s finest work to date.’

– Caryl Phillips

'A superb book, one of Chaudhuri’s very best -- full of wit, charm and humanity, and so delicately and intricately written.’

– Ian Jack

‘The stunning, Proustian prose that we have come to expect of Amit Chaudhuri is here in abundance, newly enhanced with surreal comedy and wry, self-mocking, often hilarious sex. Brilliantly he superimposes an intensely Bengali sensibility upon the picaresque experience of a London undergraduate. This is his wittiest and also his most profound book to date.’

– Wendy Doniger

‘A wonderful novel which has everything in it – pathos, humour, lyricism and style – by one of the most remarkable novelists writing today.’

– Nadeem Aslam

‘Witty, intimate and modern, Chaudhuri’s insight into the loneliness and excitement of our search for elsewhere had me under its spell. An unforgettable walk through London and other worlds by one of our most entertaining and artful writers.’

– Deborah Levy, author of Swimming Home

More books from this author: Amit Chaudhuri