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Sunetra Gupta Biography

(1965– ), Memories of Rain, The Glassblower's Breath, Moonlight into Marzipan

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Francis Edward Grainger Biography to Thomas Anstey Guthrie Biography

Indian novelist, born in Calcutta, educated at Princeton University and Imperial College, London. She was brought up mainly in Africa, and has spent much of her adult life in Britain. Her first novel, Memories of Rain (1992), tells the story of the Indian Moni's growing estrangement from her adulterous English husband and his native country. It was highly praised for its elaborate prose style, and she was compared to Woolf and Smart. Her fiction is dense with quotations from Tagore, references to European literary giants, and allusion to Greek myth. The Glassblower's Breath (1993), her controversial second novel, takes more risks with the form; some critics took exception to its melodramatic character. Set in the span of a day, it follows the footsteps of a young Indian woman pursued by her several lovers; it shifts between past and present, memory, fantasy, and stream-of-consciousness, negotiating the disparate cultures, landscapes, and literary traditions of England, America, and India. In Moonlight into Marzipan (1995) Gupta intertwines the myth of Prometheus with a contemporary fable of scientific discovery. The novel, which is characteristically set in Britain and in India, shows a new and wide-ranging social awareness, and a considerable gift for mock-decadent satire.

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