Summary and book reviews of Hullabaloo In The Guava Orchard by Kiran Desai

Hullabaloo In The Guava Orchard

By Kiran Desai

Hullabaloo In The Guava Orchard
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  • Hardcover: May 1998,
    209 pages.
    Paperback: May 1999,
    224 pages.

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Book Summary

In her dazzling, much-heralded debut novel, Kiran Desai tells a wryly hilarious and poignant story of life, love, and family relationships - simultaneously capturing the vivid culture of the Indian subcontinent and the universal intricacies of human experience.

Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard is the story of Sampath Chawla, born in a time of drought into a family not quite like other families, in a town not quite like other towns. After years of failure at school, failure at work, of spending his days dreaming in the tea stalls and singing to himself in the public gardens, it does not seem as if Sampath is going to amount to much.

"But the world is round," says his grandmother. "Wait and see! Even if it appears he is going downhill, he will come up on the other side. Yes, on top of the world. He is just taking the longer route."

No one believes her, until one day Sampath climbs a guava tree in search of peaceful contemplation and becomes unexpectedly famous as a holy man.

Sampath's newfound fame sends the tiny town of Shahkot into turmoil. His feisty sister falls in love with the very unsuitable Hungry Hop Ice Cream Boy; a syndicate of larcenous, alcoholic monkeys terrorizes the pilgrims who cluster around Sampath's tree; his father attempts to turn the orchard into a highly profitable carnival scene; and an overzealous spy determines to get to the bottom of it all and, to his consternation, achieves this goal in a most unpleasant way. In short, none of Kiran Desai's outrageous characters goes unaffected as events spin increasingly out of control.

Chapter One

That summer the heat had enveloped the whole of Shahkot in a murky yellow haze. The clutter of rooftops and washing lines that usually stretched all the way to the foothills at the horizon grew blurred and merged with the dust-filled sky.

'Problems have been located in the cumulus that have become overly heated,' read Mr. Chawla from the newspaper. 'It is all a result of volcanic ash thrown up in the latest spurt of activity in Tierra del Fuego.'

And a little later he reported to whomever might be listening: 'The problem lies in the currents off the West African coastline and the unexplained molecular movement observed in the polar ice-caps.'

And: 'Irag attempts to steal monsoon by deliberately creating low pressure over desert provinces and deflecting winds from India.'

And even: 'Hungarian musician offers to draw rain clouds from Europe to India via the music of his flute.'

'Why can't they think of serious...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Author Blurb Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
A delicious blend of humor and magic, hilarity and wisdom - and unexpected poetry. Kiran Desai's language will continue to delight you long after you turn the last page.

Author Blurb Salman Rushdie
Lush and intensely imagined. Welcome proof that India's encounter with the English language continues to give birth to new children, endowed with lavish gifts.

Author Blurb Junot Diaz
With this radiant novel, Kiran Desai parts the waters. Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard evokes a bright, buoyant world, and the warmth and generosity of her writing makes for a joyous debut.

Author Blurb Gita Mehta
A hullabaloo of a debut from a vibrant, creative imagination.

The Times (London)

So fresh and funny and delicious that it defies comparison.

Reader Reviews
chetna

hullabaloo in the guava orchard
A refreshing read. Give it a try.

wasaa

YEAH
I think the end of this book wasn't very good, but I have to say that the book had some very funny scenes. Overall I think it is a good book, although in some parts complicated to keep up with, but still a good book. There are some parts were the ...   Read More

Claudio Zalzarete

What a poor book
This is probably the worst book ever written. The author attempts to add humor with the form of monkeys... The incredibly boring and stupid plot is about a lazy and ill-educated Indian boy called Sampath, who leaves all of his responsibilities, to ...   Read More

Cloggie Downunder

pleasure to read
Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard is the first novel by Kiran Desai. In the town of Shahkot, in the shadow of the Himalayan foothills, lives Sampath Chawla, a bored, dreamy Post Office clerk distinguishing himself with lacklustre career ambitions. When...   Read More

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