July 12, 2020
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Quiet Grace: Manohar Malgonkar, RIP

Quiet Grace: Manohar Malgonkar, RIP

Jerry Rao remembers Manohar Malgonkar who passed away on June 14:

I first read A Bend in the Ganges when I was in college. I remember it as a book of implausible and oddly enough, therefore very real characters set in a time in history — the last days of the Raj, Independence and Partition which were described with uncanny plausibility. The unusual focus on the sexual desires of an older couple, the confused protagonist who betrays himself and his self-professed ideals at every turn, the wisp of a girl who makes sure that she avenges herself by treating a pathetic husband and an even more pathetic would-be lover in a detached manner which is simultaneously sour and dulcet, the layer on layer of cruelty (to use a Naipaulian expression) that Indians inflict on each other while loudly, hysterically complaining about the British — all of these have stayed in my memory at an astonishing level of detail. I cannot think of many so-called classics where I can remember the plot, the situations and the characters at such a granular level.

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