GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / BOOK MY PLACE – Captivated as I was by Anita Desai‘s Fasting, Feasting, I indulged myself by reading a series of her short stories. Games at Twilight contains eleven beautifully told short stories. Each of them creates an Indian atmosphere, often with the family’s ambitions focused on the education of the son, with a plump mother permanently working over the family’s food and spoiling the menfolk.
The title story takes us into the mind of a small boy, released from the stifling heat of an Indian day to play with his older siblings. With such pride he finds a hiding place and we live with him in his distress when, hours later, they have completely forgotten him and moved on to other games.
Desai brings to life the sounds and smells of India – the student who cannot study in the cacophony of his home, who moves into the local park and there, has a vision that changes his life – the proud father whose doctor-son exercises such control over his health that he would prefer to die – the woman from Vermont who cannot cope with the heat and exuberance of Bombay and Delhi, who finds her nirvana in a colony of hippies in the Indian hills.
Beautiful writing! It is not difficult to see why Desai is so successful.