FT reviews India Becoming

David Pilling of The Financial Times has written a very nice–and thoughtful–review of India Becoming.

“There are many virtues of Akash Kapur’s beautifully sketched portrait of modern India,” he writes. “The greatest of them is ambivalence. Kapur is ambivalent about the trade-offs between the disappearing certainties of India’s countryside and the roller-coaster possibilities of its cities. He is ambivalent about changes that have released people from social bondage but have uncorked thuggery, greed and vacuous consumerism. He is ambivalent about whether to be swept up by India’s startling growth or fearful of the searing inequalities and environmental degradation on which it appears to be based.

He concludes: “The novelistic approach allows for these changes of mood and perspective. Kapur’s skill is to get people talking and to weave their stories into a necessarily messy debate about India’s future. There is loss as well as anticipation. People are beggared and despoiled even as others claw out of the mud.

“In the final pages Kapur is partially reconciled to India’s duality, to the “delicate dance between destruction and creativity”. India’s becoming is, in the end, both tragic and uplifting.”

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