Anita Desai is a very popular Indian novelist. she is known as the mother of the Indian psychological novel genre. She was born on 24 June 1937 in Mussoorie, India, and spent her childhood in Delhi. Her parents had met in Germany when her father was studying there, and they moved back to his home in India in 1920.
She then attended school at Queen Mary’s School in Delhi and received a B. A. degree in English literature from Miranda House at the University of Delhi. In 1958, Anita married Ashwin Desai a business executive and they have four children Kiran Desai, one of her daughters, won the Man Booker Prize in 2006.
Desai published her first short story when she was only twenty years old. her first novel was Cry, The Peacock (1963), her other novels include: Voices In The City (1965), Where Shall We Go This Summer? (1975), Fire On The Mountain (1977). In addition to novels, she has written books for children, numerous short stories that have been collected into anthologies and essays.
She has received many awards, including the Royal Society of literature Winifred Holtby prize (1978), The Sahitya Akademi of India (1979), The Guardian Award for children’s fiction (1982), The National Academy of literature award and Three nominations for the Booker Prize.
Anita Desai has taught at Cambridge oxford Smith, Mount Holyoke, and MIT. She is also a member of the Royal society of literature and the American academy of arts and letters. Desai and her family currently live in the United States.
17 Anita Desai Books
Fire On The Mountain (1977)
This Book Received a Sahitya Akademi award. The book is about the story of Nanda Kaul who lives in Kasauli and leads a solitary life. Her granddaughter Rekha left to Nanda after her parents move tp geneva while she is still sickly after having recovered from typhoid.
Clear light of day 1980
The novel begins when the main characters are adults progress backward in time to their childhood, with a final section returning to their adult lives. The novel describes the tensions and everyday life struggle of an Indian family. The novel discusses the relation of four siblings Tara, Bimla, Raja, and Baba.
The village by the sea (1982)
The village by the sea (1982) won a Guardian Award for children’s fiction this is set in a small village called Thul in western India 14 km from Bombay and the story focuses on a family to try to make ends meet.
The main protagonists are Leela who is 13 years old and her brother Hari who is 12 years old they also have two younger sister Bela and Kamal, they live with their mother who has been chronically ill and his father is alcoholic which forces Lila and Hari to manage the family and there is a lot of pressure on the child due to constant demand of meeting their needs.
Cry, The Peacock (1963)
Voices In The City (1965)
In Custody (1984)
Bye- Bye Blackbird (1971)
The Peacock Garden (1974)
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Fasting Feasting (1999)
Where Shall We Go This Summer? (1975)
Cat On A Houseboat (1976)
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The Zigzag Way (2004)
Games At Twilight (1978)
Baumgartner’s Bombay (1988)
Journey To Ithaca (1995)
Diamond Dust And Other Stories (2000)
The Artist Of Disappearance (2011)
Anita Desai Quotes
“People think that because I write about Indiaby Anita Desai
I must be trying to portray India away.”
“When I was very young, I used to share much of what I wrote with my family,
but as I got older and more conscious, it became a much more private process.”by Anita Desai
“I aim to tell the truth about any subject, not a romance or fantasy, not avoid the truth.by Anita Desai
India is a curious place that still preserves the past. religious and its history. No matter how modern India becomes, it is still very much an old country.”
“I try to trace the connection between the characters and that way a story or plot emerges.”by Anita Desai
“My style of writing is to allow the story to unfold on its own. I try to structure my work too rigidly.“by Anita Desai
“Someone who wants to write should make efforts to write a little something every day. Writing in this sense is the same as athletes who practice a sport every day to keep their skills.”by Anita Desai
“Usually a feeling of disappointment follows the book because what I hoped to write is not what I actually accomplished. However, it becomes a motivation to write the next book.”by Anita Desai