Friend of My Youth: Book summary and reviews of Friend of My Youth by Amit Chaudhuri

Friend of My Youth

by Amit Chaudhuri

Friend of My Youth by Amit Chaudhuri X
Friend of My Youth by Amit Chaudhuri
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published in USA  Feb 2019
    176 pages
    Genre: Novels

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

An intensely personal novel about childhood, memory, and history by one of today's most celebrated authors, now available in the US for the first time.

Amit Chaudhuri has long blurred the boundaries between fact and fiction, seeking to turn the novel into a form not only of reflection but also of storytelling, a nuanced and humorous way of taking stock and weighing the unknown quantity that is anyone's life. In Friend of My Youth, the narrator, Amit Chaudhuri (a novelist who is not to be confused with Amit Chaudhuri the novelist) is in Bombay, where he lived and went to school as a child and teenager: Hailing as he and his family do from Calcutta, he was never exactly home there although their home was there. That was long ago, however, and Bombay is now a different Bombay, just as his own childhood looks different through the lens of intervening years. And there's another difference now: The old friend he always visited on returns to Bombay has fallen prey to a drug habit and is no longer there - and so another link with the past is broken. Amit wanders the streets of Bombay, reflects on the terrorist takeover of the glamorous Taj Mahal Hotel, runs errands for his wife and mother, remembers his father, misses his friend.

Friend of My Youth is suffused with both sly humor and a deep melancholy, as it delicately explores the nature of friendship, the mystery of identity, and the passage of time.

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Anything but a conventional novel, its pleasures arise from a craftsman's writing and its subtle demands and rewards." - Kirkus

"In this cogent and introspective novel, Chaudhuri movingly portrays how other people can allow individuals to connect their present and past." - Publishers Weekly

"With the publication of Friend of My Youth, Amit Chaudhuri is now the author of seven novels, greatly admired, especially by his peers… the drama of the self, spun from Chaudhuri's meditations and recollections, is artfully composed and utterly absorbing." - Times Literary Supplement (UK)

"What [Chaudhuri] does in this short novel, with exquisite delicacy, is show disconnection, vacancy and the physical world's imperviousness to human action, even of the most violent kind."- Esquire (UK)

"Friend of My Youth is a taut, efficient book: part novel and part manifesto. It presents itself as a work of fiction about friendship, the experiences of youth and the city of Mumbai, but really it's a kind of anti-novel: a book about the failures of fiction to account for the realities of memory." - The Guardian (UK)

"Chaudhuri is an exceptionally subtle writer, a skeptical seeker rather than a postmodern show-off...In a book that (in a good sense) marks time, the narrator prepares for his next 'leap of life'. Like Benjamin's Angel of History, which Chaudhuri does credit, these elegiac ruminations look backwards but move forwards." - The Spectator (UK)

"This novel is 'an assemblage of moments, of different kinds of awareness of the world, and even of writing.' Like [Henry] Green's novels it offers delight, it shimmers, you seek to catch hold of it and it slides away." - The Scotsman (UK)

"[The narrator] remains unmoved by the memories Bombay evokes yet experiences an unsettling homesickness, a paradoxical state that is compellingly observed. He also likes to eat: miniaturist descriptions of the evolving food landscape are pin-sharp. The autofictional riffs are unshowy, often funny, and it all comes together as a textured reflection on the hold of the past." - Sunday Times (UK)

"Fiercely intelligent...elegant. [Chaudhuri] combines a serious reflection on psychology and friendship with an examination of the artist's relationship to real life." - The Herald (UK)

"A common, and false, complaint leveled against Chaudhuri by some critics is that nothing ever happens in his fiction. This is as untrue as saying that nothing ever happens in Waiting for Godot. He's at his best with surfaces, stacking and overlaying them to create startling effects." - Financial Times (UK)

"I realized that I had no terms in my critical lexicon to communicate the delight and the pleasure that his writing had given me. I haven't encountered such joyous and playful writing about walking or eating...as I have in Chaudhuri's books." - Los Angeles Review of Books

"What [Chaudhuri's] work exemplifies is somebody who views the canon as everything, that there isn't a form of canonical literature that makes him cleave to one culture or the other." - Will Self

"Amit Chaudhuri is a master. This book is a hymn to our present and our past. In today's noisy world, Chaudhuri's words provide a home wherein we can contemplate the essential things in life." - Nadeem Aslam

"What a beautifully lyrical composition. I love how it is pitched three-quarters of the way to fiction, but with an eloquent nod towards "real life". In this sense, it possesses the fantasy of fiction, but the grit of the lived and experienced. It's an achievement." - Caryl Phillips

"Reading Friend of My Youth was very calming. A sort of relief. It re-arranged the nervous system: the sentences and paragraphs were in step with breath, with thought, with strolling; time is slowed down. I would not describe Amit as a miniaturist – although his books are short – no, he is an epic writer – his protagonists have made long journeys." - Deborah Levy

The information about Friend of My Youth shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Amit Chaudhuri Author Biography

Photo: Geoff Pugh

Amit Chaudhuri is a novelist, essayist, poet, and musician. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he lives in Calcutta and the United Kingdom, where he is a professor of contemporary literature at the University of East Anglia. Friend of My Youth is his seventh novel. Among Chaudhuri's other works are three books of essays, the most recent of which is The Origins of Dislike; a study of D. H. Lawrence's poetry; a book of short stories, Real Time; a work of nonfiction, Calcutta: Two Years in the City; and two volumes of poetry, including Sweet Shop. He has made several recordings of Indian classical and experimental music, and the awards he has received for his fiction include the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, and the Indian ...

... Full Biography
Link to Amit Chaudhuri's Website

Other books by Amit Chaudhuri at BookBrowse
  • Odysseus Abroad jacket
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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more novels...

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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Curious Toys
    Curious Toys
    by Elizabeth Hand
    In Curious Toys, Elizabeth Hand tells the story of Vivian, a 14-year-old girl disguised as a boy ...
  • Book Jacket: Your House Will Pay
    Your House Will Pay
    by Steph Cha
    Steph Cha's novel Your House Will Pay shows how a legacy of violence and injustice can ripple ...
  • Book Jacket: Divide Me By Zero
    Divide Me By Zero
    by Lara Vapnyar
    Divide Me By Zero begins with an encounter between the narrator, Katya Geller, a 40-something mother...
  • Book Jacket: Mighty Justice
    Mighty Justice
    by Dovey Johnson Roundtree , Katie McCabe
    What it's about:
    Dovey Johnson Roundtree was one of two lawyers who won the landmark case "Sarah ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The In-Betweens
    by Mira Ptacin

    "A fascinating history of an American community of Spiritualists... a fabulous read."
    —Elizabeth Gilbert
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Ordinary Girls
    by Jaquira Díaz

    Reminiscent of Tara Westover's Educate and Roxane Gay's Hunger--a memoir that reads as electrically as a novel.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Home for Erring and Outcast Girls

From the author of
Calling Me Home

An emotionally raw and resonant story of two young women connected by a home for "fallen girls," and inspired by historical events.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W G Up M C D

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

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

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.