Media Center: ‘Bad Character’ by Deepti Kapoor
WHO: Deepti Kapoor
WHAT: A BAD CHARACTER, a novel
WHEN: Published by Knopf January 22, 2015
WHERE: Set in New Delhi.
WHY: “Exciting and original…A tightly rendered story of a young woman’s awakening in contemporary India.
“The unnamed female narrator, ‘twenty and untouched’ when her mother dies, is sent by her absentee father to be raised by an aunt. Living with her relative in a modest Delhi apartment, the girl begins to feel cramped by her boring university classes and her Aunty’s endless attempts to arrange a marriage.
“One day she meets a rich, rebellious, darker-skinned young man from a different social class. She finds him ‘ugly,’ yet realizes ‘there’s something of the animal in him,’ and subsequently begins a torrid affair with him.
“In clipped, haunting paragraphs, the girl tells of her discovery of whiskey, sex, and a gritty, thrilling India that she never knew existed. The tension that the affair will be exposed becomes almost unbearable; however, instead of delivering this impending confrontation with Aunty, Kapoor takes the story in darker and tragic directions. As the novel becomes more about the young woman wrestling with the effects of her relationships, the prose becomes more ruminative and elliptical.
‘The story and the style are reminiscent of Marguerite Duras’s The Lover, but when fused with the vivid Delhi scenes, Kapoor’s novel ventures into exciting and original territory.”
“Riveting…Kapoor’s breathless novel is an intimate, raw exploration of her character’s profound transformation.” —Leah Strauss, BOOKLIST
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