Fasting, Feasting


Anita Desai

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Fasting, Feasting Study Guide

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Anita Desai's Fasting, Feasting. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

Brief Biography of Anita Desai

Desai was born Anita Mazumdar, to a German mother and Bengali father. She grew up speaking a mix of German, Hindi, Bengali, Urdu and later English. She began writing stories at an early age. She studied English Literature at the University of Delhi, and soon after married Ashvin Desai, a philosopher and software company director, with whom she has four children, including writer Kiran Desai. At that time, Desai was beginning to feel pessimistic about her writing career, as few Indian writers had been published in either India or the UK. To her relief after much effort, her novel Cry the Peacock was published in 1963 in the UK. She has since written 17 books novels, including In Custody, which was adapted for screenplay in 1993, and several short story collections. She has traveled throughout the United States teaching writing workshops at American universities. While many of her works have an Indian context, she also writes narratives which take place in the U.S. and internationally.
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Other Books Related to Fasting, Feasting

Few contemporary Indian writers were published before Desai; she has written that she was an avid reader of English writers such as Virginia Woolf and Henry James, as well as her contemporary, writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. New Indian writers of the 1980’s wave such as Salman Rushdie, Amitov Ghosh, Vikram Seth, and Upmanyu Chatterji can be said to belong to the same literary generation as Desai. Readers of Desai often compare her work to that of her daughter, Kiran Desai, as well as the work of contemporary Indian female writers Bharati Mukherjee, Sunetra Gupta and Jhumpa Lahiri.
Key Facts about Fasting, Feasting
  • Full Title: Fasting, Feasting.
  • When Written: 1999
  • Where Written: Great Britain
  • When Published: 1999
  • Literary Period: Contemporary
  • Genre: Novel
  • Setting: First section: A small town in India; Second section: Western Massachusetts (1970’s-1999)
  • Climax: The death of Anamika
  • Antagonist: Uma, Arun
  • Point of View: Close third person. Uma (first section), Arun (second section)

Extra Credit for Fasting, Feasting

Awards: Anita Desai was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fasting, Feasting.