Author: Nayantara Sahgal
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8172235240
For the eminent scientist Sir Nitin Basu, spending the summer of 1914 at a remote hill station in the Himalayas, the arrival of a single Danish woman-hired as his secretary by his sister Didi-is as alarming as an invasion. Tall, fair, unconventional Miss Anna Hansen is a feminist, a woman ahead of her times, enjoying a year of travel before her marriage to an English diplomat. Before her short stay in Himapur is over, she will have come dangerously close to loving another man, stumbled on the evidence, she believes, of a secret crime, and been shaken by a violent and mysterious death.
Making up the small European community in Himapur are the missionary Marlowe Croft, a bullying, obsessive man determined at all costs to build a Christian church in the hills; his shrill, foolish wife Lulu, the chief obstacle to his mission; and the district Magistrate Henry Brewster, an enigmatic figure, ill-at-ease with the imperial authority he represents. Deserted by his wife Stella, for whom he gave up his dreams of a new political life in England, he is still consumed with love for her. Anna’s fascination with Brewster, her involvement in India’s growing political unrest, lead her to reconsider her future, but a horrific accident and a startling find in a forest glade make it impossible for her to stay. Tormented by unanswered questions, Anna makes her plans for departure, as the intimate tragedies of Himapur are swept away by the cataclysm of war.
Plans for Departure is both a love story and mystery, set in a continent poised for revolution and a world on the edge of war. Nayantara Sahgal has written a new novel of haunting power and superb craftsmanship, rich in intrigue, gentle humour and exquisite observation.
Ms Sahgal handles her ingredients –love, compromise, anguish, serenity, the writing on the wall-with lucent sincerity and a feeling for both kinds of history, outward and inward.
Rich Like Us
The novel which teems with the actualities of life in India-corruption, injustice, bureaucratic finagling0-is wonderfully set apart by a fine, clear, disenchanted eye and an acerbic moral intelligence that is devastating without raising its voice.
The flow of masterly novels that manage to bring alive the Indian social and political world of post-Emergency Delhi…and the rich harvest that it brings to the reader is one of the most packed and exciting aspects of modern fiction. Sahgal, f course, is foremost in her garnering of the horror, humour and humanity of this fascinating age.
-Sir Angus Wilson
This is an elegant adroitly constructed mordantly witty book.
-London Review of Books
Indira Gandhi-Her road to Power
Quite simply the most interesting and important book yet written on Mrs Gandhi and her relationship to Indian political and social realities.
-Ainslie T Embree, Director, Southern Asian Institute, Columbia University
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
NAYANTA SAHGAL is a novelist and political commentator who has published nine novels and eight works of non-fiction. One of the first Indian writers in English to make a mark on an international readership, she won the commonwealth Prize (Eurasia) in 1986 for Plans for Departure, while Rich Like Us won the Sinclair Fiction Prize in 1985 and the Sahitya Akademi award in 1986. In 1990 she was awarded an Honorary doctorate for Literature by the University of Leeds.