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
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: May 1998,
    209 pages.
    Paperback: May 1999,
    224 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

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...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews
The Times (London)

So fresh and funny and delicious that it defies comparison.

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.

Reader Reviews
Soph

0/10 Would Not Recommend
He turns into a guava. What an original storyline! Although the author makes good use of language techniques the story line was feeble at best. The book defies all senses of logic, and I would only recommend if your into that kind of acid tripping ...   Read More

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

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Hullabaloo In The Guava Orchard, try these:

  • For Matrimonial Purposes jacket

    For Matrimonial Purposes

    by Kavita Daswani

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    An unconventional heroine defies tradition by making a marriage between the strict customs of India and the wild freedoms of America to find her own happy ending.

  • Sister of My Heart jacket

    Sister of My Heart

    by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Exceptionally moving, dramatic, and exquisitely rendered - a passionate novel about the extraordinary bond between two women, and the jealousies, loves, and family histories that threaten to tear them apart.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...
  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...
  • Book Jacket
    The Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Tomlinson Hill
by Chris Tomlinson

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  166The City:
    Dean Koontz

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.