Memories of Rain is a remarkable novel. That it is also Gupta’s first novel makes it that much more astonishing. Like Nicholson Baker’s Room Temperature, there seems to be little plot – a woman leaves her husband. But here (as with Baker’s book), there’s so much more. The sentences and paragraphs (both generally quite epic) require the reader to dive in and swim along with the amazing current of her prose. (Forgive the water metaphors; there’s simply no other way to describe it.) The syntax is sensual and the peeling back of the proverbial onion is subtle and smooth. The image of the abandoned husband sitting amidst the abandoned birthday party is haunting and absolutely right. As a book lover, the line – “it must have been sad, she had thought, to belong to a household where one could hide things in books” (181) – made me underline it. Now if I only had some Tagore at hand.

(Thanks, Lena.)