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A highly charged fiction debut about a young woman in India and the love that both shatters and transforms her She is twenty restless in New Delhi Her mother has died her father has left for Singapore He is a few years older just back to India from New Yor. Vibrant dark and passionate Deepti Kapoor s short debut novel which feels like a memoir is a meditation on the life of a young educated woman in modern India and a raw account of a forbidden and ultimately destructive relationship The narrator is apparently named Idha but this is only referenced once on the first page and there is some ambiguity as to whether it is even her real name I give myself a name I wear it out A charm that protects me Idha means insight maybe the name is a deliberate choice on the part of the narrator Idha s lover too is never named adding to the sense that this is a semi autobiographical story The setting is Delhi in the early twenty first century and the lover though nameless gives the book its title he was a man who the narrator tells us at the very beginning died when she was twenty one and was described in a police soundbite as known to us he was a bad character The narrator tells her story from a present perspective which appears to be about ten years since the central events the book describes The main action takes place when Idha is twenty years old a student at college and lives with her aunt who constantly pushes her into meetings with bland potential husbands She has a certain amount of freedom she is getting a good education is from a middle class family has her own car and often wanders or drives the city alone Still she feels constantly aware of the limits of her life of being a woman and bored by what is expected of her although she doesn t seem to know what it is she wants instead until she meets her lover When she encounters this charismatic but ugly man in a caf it is his very ugliness that attracts and excites her The two of them begin the sort of affair that feels doomed from the start volatile and all consuming In this second life always kept secret from Idha s family he drags her into the underbelly of the city replete with sex crime illegal raves drugs There is some violence and emotional manipulation on his part but unusually it rarely seems that Idha is not in control and you sense that he is just as confused and frustrated as she is The narrative style isn t entirely conventional Kapoor switches between present and past tense between first and third person and at many points there is a sudden jump from one point in the narrator s past to another As names are rarely used it s not always clear which him she s talking about or whether she refers to another woman or to herself As a result there are passages that reuire than one reading to be properly understood and absorbed and although this is a short and fast moving book it is sometimes a tough read in ways than one Although Idha s lover obsesses her her life worsens rather than improves after he disappears and the story becomes ever bleak This is the sort of novel I would have liked to see on the Booker longlist It s certainly readable but it is also emotionally complex and very specific to its setting By which I don t just mean Delhi although Kapoor s beautifulbrutal portrayal of the city is one of the highlights of her narrative but the particular situation of being a young unmarried middle class college educated Hindu woman in India in the 2000s It s like living a little slice of another person s life another thing that makes it feel very memoir esue A Bad Character burns out uickly but it burns bright and as a result it is very memorable Just like the affair itself in fact

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A Bad Character

Ice at once gritty and lyrical mournful and frank A Bad Character marks the arrival of an astonishingly gifted new writer It is an unforgettable hymn to a dangerous exhilarating city and a portrait of desire and its conseuences as timeless as it is universa. It started off wonderfully much to my surprise I m not much of a fan when it comes to coming of age in a haze of drugs and sex Ill advised and sure to end badly For a person who s always had a head obsessively over her shoulders this type of protagonist is especially hard to relate to But this novel was an exception I believed this young college girl when she said that she felt the lure of something untamed something animal The writing was hypnotic and painted a wonderful if bleak and dirty picture of turn of millennium New Delhi Or it was until I took my first break about 70 pages into the book I was excited to pick it back up but it seemed to me that once the rhythm was broken it was hard to get back into it I was still invested in it to follow Idha on her path to self destruction but I could no longer uite care for her relationship with the man This probably has something to do with my prudish hangups because at 70 pages it was only just starting to become a sex and drug odyssey Regardless of the lack of power the subject packs for me I still liked the writing The portrait of the country is one of the better ones I ve encountered in a while something that touches on contemporary India without it boiling down to an immigrant story If Deepti Kapoor wrote about something else I would love to read it Actually I ll read a second novel by her regardless of the subject

Deepti Kapoor ✓ 4 Download

KWhen they meet in a café one afternoon she lonely hungry for experience yearning to break free of tradition casts aside her fears and throws herself headlong into a love affair one that takes her where she A Bad Kindle has never been before Told in a vo. Breathlessly narrated memoir posing as fiction Has superb impressionistic prose with some of the best descriptions of Delhi I ve read and I m counting City of Djinns and Capital here Female sexual awakening the perils of living in Delhi are the central themes of A Bad Character how a 20 year old college girl discovers life beyond classes and staid middle class existence aided by an ugly dark animal like man who looks like a servant if not for his New York accent whom she picks up at a cafe in Khan Market because it turns her on him being ugly and her being beautiful He takes her to places in the city she would have never known woos her vigorously and with considerable charm before both of them latch on to the customary fate of rich entitled Delhi boys who don t need to work a day in their lives the high road of alcohol drugs sex and ennui Yes the risue Indian novel is finally here I suspect the author wrote this book as therapy in a sort of mad hurry to expel the memories of descending down the self destructive spiral of substance abuse and casual sex out of her system There s an honesty to it that seems autobiographical and this cursory hypothesis is backed by an article by her on HuffPost about how Ashtanga Yoga helped her stop being a party girl However A Bad Character is ultimately let down by its unimaginative plot though narrated imaginatively with a jagged narrative structure that alternates between first person and third person it s a brave book that narrates an all too familiar tale with a style that s all her own a slim book that you ll probably finish in a sitting like doing a uick line of coke in the hotel bathroom


10 thoughts on “A Bad Character

  1. says:

    And across the room he is staring at meI've been stared at a lot of course; it's what happens here it's what men do Every day from door to door on the buses stepping through rubble on the edge of the road in the car stuck in traffic at red lights Stares of incomprehension lust rage sad yearning so vacant and blank sometimes it's terrifying sometimes pitiful Eyes filling the potholes bouncing down the street like marbles

  2. says:

    Vibrant dark and passionate Deepti Kapoor's short debut novel which feels like a memoir is a meditation on the life of a young educate

  3. says:

    He was known to us he was a bad characterIt's a phrase they use sometimes what some people still say It's what they'll say

  4. says:

    Breathlessly narrated memoir posing as fiction Has superb impressionistic prose with some of the best descriptions of Delhi I've re

  5. says:

    This debut novel by Deepti Kapoor reflects on Indian culture and its paradoxical stance with regard to womanhood The protagonist a respectable unmarried young lady gets secretly involved with an older man The book starts the moment he gets killed and all that is left is a story to recountIn my view the title re

  6. says:

    Deepti Kapoor’s A Bad Character is about a tumultuous period in one college going female student’s life in New Delhi Kapoor’s

  7. says:

    It started off wonderfully much to my surprise I'm not much of a fan when it comes to coming of age in a haze of drugs and sex Ill advised and sure to end badly For a person who's always had a head obsessively over her shoulders this type of protagonist is especially hard to relate to But this novel was an exception I believed this young coll

  8. says:

    I wouldn't have heard about this author or thought of reading this book if I hadn't attended the Jaipur litfest and heard her speak about it during a couple of events To me the novel was related to 'writing the city' in particular 'Delhi' than about a love story The relationship between the two characters didn't come across as love but as some kind of sick escapist obsession between a twenty year old dying t

  9. says:

    I read the book last night Came back from dinner and finished it in one sitting it is hard to put down The books grips you and sucks you into its ‘darkness’ Very gripping flows very well and breaks the boundaries of traditional moral high ground Its about love and sex poverty and wealth the tiredness of living in a Delhi that belongs to men its about passion drugs lies and dreams of a young free woman I liked the dramatized ch

  10. says:

    Lots of this book is gorgeous What a lovely conceit to show our heroine round Delhi with the reader in tow What sensuous writing I thought I might get fed up of all the adjectives and evokings but I didn't And Delhi is now a lot real to me than after any of the other Delhi books I have readAs the book drifted on I did start to wonde

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