Rave reviews for Rahul Bhattacharya's debut novel

24 June 2011

Here is a selection of  fantastic reviews for The Sly Company of People Who Care

‘This ferociously gifted writer has already been hailed as the natural successor to the great Naipaul — and yes, he is that good. His narrator has a charming, confident voice that engages instantly, and his descriptions of landscapes and people are ravishing. A 26-year-old Indian cricket reporter suddenly decides to leave his job and try life in Guyana. He finds a chaotic, decaying place with a confusing mix of races and remarkable natural beauty. “Guyanese,” he says, “are born sceptics. Their foreparents were either forced or tricked into coming here.” He loves the local language, which calls the dawn “dayclean”, and there is, of course, a woman in the picture. He’s escaping from his own dissatisfaction, yet he describes his surroundings in rich, loving detail. We look forward to seeing this on (at least) the Booker longlist.’  The Times

‘Rahul Bhattacharya made a splash with his cricketing journal, Pundits From Pakistan, which is fourth in the Wisden Cricketer’s list of Best Cricket Books of all Time.  He is clever, insightful and funny.  With a style resonant of some of the best Asian writing by giants such as Naipaul and Rushdie, this restless first novel is packed full of oddball characters and atmospheric description … The writing is sometimes melancholic and often unusually paced - more in tune with the way a mind and a life really chop and change, rather than following a more traditional plot and narrative form. If you can keep up, this debut novel has powerful charm.’  Daily Mail

‘Evocative and perceptive, it lifts the lid on a somewhat forgotten part of the world.’ 
Big Issue

‘…it is beautifully written and brims with charm.  Bhattacharya’s total immersion in the culture and the local patois has produced both a love letter to Guyana and a fascinating insight into that Caribbean country’s volatile mix of races.  Definitely a book to be savoured lying in a shady hammock, with a bottle of rum and cricket on the radio.’  Financial Times

‘A wonderfully uncategorizable book . . . Bhattacharya’s gift for reproducing the rhythms and intricacies of his characters’ speech places him in the company of Mark Twain. He understands the world by listening above all else.’
New Yorker

‘Its heart lies in the exuberant and often arresting observations of a man plunging himself into a world of beauty, violence and cultural strife . . . Reminiscent of Dante in the case of the ‘Commedia’, a careful listener and observer who, while in exile, faithfully records the stories that come his way . . . what a remarkable and exquisite world he has made.’
 New York Times

‘The consequence of colonialism are subtly explored . . .  a deft synthesis of travelogue and Bildungsroman, by turns antic and introspective.’
Wall Street Journal

‘From the very first line we know we’re in the care of a narrator unmatched in his lyricism and sensitivity.’
Boston Globe

‘Naipaul, if he had been a young man exploring an unknown world today, could have written it. But Bhattacharya's understanding of displacement and drifting comes from a completely original place, and he has all of the humour and the sharpness of the young Naipaul, with none of the spleen. This book, and this writer, are here to last.’
India Today

‘Among the many accomplishments of this exceptional book is Bhattacharya’s ability to portray sex with an unabashed, edgy abandon . . . It is certainly the best first novel by an Indian I have read in a long time.’
Outlook

‘Bhattacharya’s writing has incredible depth and artistry, a kind of achieved poise that sets it apart from anything else, even when he’s only talking about the experience of being violently drunk or describing house-fronts in Georgetown.’
Indian Express

‘As the lone narrator wanders through this wonderland, he builds a sense of adventure, surrealism, love, empathy and passion. The book is a sum of the adventure of being in a place where everything is turned upside down and one has to navigate by improvising’
Asian Age

‘A book that commands your attention and you are compelled to give it all it needs.’
Business Standard

‘As I was drawn deeper into the book, those first, serendipitous associations with Naipaul and Kanhai seemed to become curiously apt: The Sly Company has the masterly spirit of place of the former and, in some elliptical way, the effortless, silken artistry of the latter.’
Hindu

‘One of the finest works of prose to come out of the subcontinent in the last decade.’
Kathmandu Post

Read Rahul's article in The Observer

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