May 26, 2020
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Cooper Calling

It has few surprises, but many insights and the small joys that arise from making new discoveries in an already explored land.

Cooper Calling
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553
A Woman Madly In Love
By Boman Desai
Roli Books Rs 350; Pages: 419
"It was becoming increasingly difficult to bear, so little return for so much work, weekends sucked into her workdesk, living in a state of fugue, plagued by the familiar headaches, backaches and wristcramps from confronting her typewriter eight to ten hours a day." By placing this minor grumble in Farida Cooper’s mouth, Boman Desai avoids whining; and yet, considering he has produced two unusual novels before this one, he hasn’t really received his due.

Farida Cooper, madly in love with writing, with a poco-pomo expert, with jazz and with a young Parsi boy, is the beating heart of this sprawling novel. She’s a complex creation, unable to shake off her all-too-famous Parsi surname, and she grows on the reader as Desai takes us back and forth from 1950s Bombay to academic Chicago in a beat.

The dialogue is jarring, often overmannered (the incessant use of "I say" does not provide a shortcut to Parsi English)—a pity because everyone in this novel believes in long conversations. Get past that, and A Woman Madly in Love offers the same pleasures as an affair with an old friend. It has few surprises, but many insights and the small joys that arise from making new discoveries in an already explored land.

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