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Mehta, Gita

india story indian

(Indian, 1943– )

Mehta was brought up in India and educated at Cambridge. She now divides her time between London, India, and New York, where her husband is a leading publisher. She made her name with a non-fiction work, Karma Cola, a scathingly satirical examination of the invasion of India by consumer culture. Of her two novels, by far the more notable is A River Sutra (1993), a jewel-like fable, drawing on traditions of Indian story-telling, about a bureaucrat who retires to live by the Ganges in search of tranquillity. Each chapter tells a story stemming from his encounters: he meets a Jain monk, who describes how he has withdrawn from the world; he hears of a poor music teacher's discovery of a young boy with an exquisite singing voice; he reads the diary of a man whose psychological equilibrium is shattered when he is put in charge of an isolated tea estate. Mehta's writing is restrained, delicate, and touching.

R. K. Narayan, Anita Desai  NC

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