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In Friend of My Youth a novelist named Amit Chaudhuri visits his childhood home of Bombay The city reeling from the impact of the terrorist attacks weighs Friend of Kindle heavily on his mind as does the unexpected absence o. This is a reflective journey into childhood tinged with the sadness that things change whether you like it or not When you no longer live in the place of your childhood there is a strange feeling that overcomes you to spot the similarities and differences when you return Chaudhuri has captured this dislocation beautifully I like his description of looking up into the sky to see where we might go and down to the ground to see where we have been

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Friend of My YouthF his childhood friend Ramu a drifting opaue figure who is Amit's last remaining connection to the city he once called homeAmit Chaudhuri's new novel is about geographical historical and personal change It asks a uestion we al. Originally posted on my blogA Meditation on Many Things Amit Chaudhuri's Friend of My YouthIn Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines the narrator confuses the sense in which we use the terms ‘coming’ and ‘going’ Amit Chaudhuri’s Friend of My Youth like Ghosh’s novel also plays with these terms while uestioning contradicting and shifting our understanding of another term ‘home’ Friend of My Youth is a meditation on many things the city of Bombay life death language friendship and the novelThe novel’s narrator protagonist is a writer named Amit Chaudhuri who returns comes or goes to Bombay the ‘home’ of his childhood for a literary event two years after the 2008 terrorist attacks shook the city As he moves across the city which he never really knew and which perhaps did not know him either he remembers his childhood friend the 'idiot' used here with affection Ramu Ramu is in fact absent from the narrator's first revisit to Bombay and appears in person only in two revisits described towards the end of the novel The city of BombayThe narrator in the novel confesses that he never really loved the city of his childhood Yet as he returns to it after many years he finds himself in search of those very landmarks that made his childhood landmarks that would help him orient himself He visits the places most familiar to him places that contributed towards making him the man he is He refers to the city as Bombay and not as Mumbai its new name since 1995 which is symptomatic of this attempt at a brush with the past However it is not a nostalgic reunion with the friend of his youth the city of Bombay and Ramu who is in many ways Bombay incarnate that the narrator is aiming at The novel is critical of things that make the Bombay of present day Bombay is described as the least changeless of cities yet the narrator tells us there are a few things that are the same as ever The narrator is acutely aware of the events of the 2008 terrorist attacks During his revisit he stays at the Taj Mahal Hotel an important landmark of his childhood but also one of the cites of the four day attacks He remembers watching the CCTV footage of the attacks that was broadcasted on television news and saysIt's in the bad lighting of the CCTV video that the hotel echoes the mausoleum it's named after—in which tourists arc round the tombs encased in marble shrouded in the perpetual semi dark of mourning where they can't take picturesBombay the narrator tells us was never good enough for him Even now he hesitates to write about it He talks of the impossibility of recovering whatever it was that formed him and what he 'churlishly' disowned This reminds one of another attempt at recovering the 'lost' Bombay In Imaginary Homelands Salman Rushdie describes the experience of travelling to Bombay and encountering his childhood 'home' which appears drastically different from the monochromatic version in his mind inspired by a black and white picture Rushdie feels an alienation from his 'home' in Bombay a 'home' which according to him can only be 'reclaimed' in memory While Rushdie makes a case for the possibility of recovery Chaudhuri complicates it Language writing and the novelPerhaps the only way to recover the past of a city somewhat imperfectly as memory itself is imperfect and engage with its present is through language Friend of My Youth makes some interesting observations on language and language use The narrator says that he hates the word 'refurbished' because it sounds like someone with a cold is trying to say 'furnished' He talks about the phrase 'open sandwich' as being 'boldly counterintuitive' He considers 'terrorist' like 'anti national' as a word that has lost meaning through repetition such that it can refer to anyone nowIn relation to the city and its use of the English language the narrator saysIn Bombay you subtly shift your speech so you sound like the one speaking to you You don't want to stand outHe informs us that people believe in multitasking in Bombay and that 'multitasking' is a word used freuently in the city Moreover he observes that Bombay is a city where everyone performs a function reluctantly; he announces that Reluctance is fundamental which is perhaps a play on the title of Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist a book that I coincidentally bought with Chaudhuri's book so imagine my surprise and delight at finding this reference Regarding the word 'novel' the narrator says that the it has been used so variably over the years that no one is sure what it means any The word does have unprecedented currency; the novel writes Chaudhuri is no longer understood as a form but as writing itself Towards the end of the book the narrator provides us with a detailed description of the novel form He says What marks out a novel is this the author and the narrator are not one Even if by coincidence they share the same name as in Friend of My Youth The narrator might be created by the author but is a mystery to himFurther the narrator refers to the 'business' of writing; the word 'business' having such a malleability in language Writing is a business especially in the present day and writers as Chaudhuri writes are the pound of flesh that must be repaid in full It must be noted that Chaudhuri is known for his experiments with the traditional novel form and realist narratives; he is praised for pushing away at form trying to make something new of the novel from The GuardianA meditation on many things Friend of My Youth is a good example of Chaudhuri's attempt at reworking the genre of the novel It may be considered part fiction part memoir despite his warning against collating the narrator and the author and part travelogue What appealed to me personally about this short and well written piece of work was its ability to meditate on many things simultaneously the city of Bombay and language as discussed in detail above but also life death and friendshipRamu the narrator's eccentric friend who is seen slipping in and out of drug addiction darkness and the narrator's life is an incarnation of Bombay itself The narrator says that Ramu is where Bombay lives an interesting linguistic inversion and though Ramu may not be happy he is always alive energetic Ramu is the only friend from school that the narrator has managed to remain in touch with Regarding one's friends from school the narrator saysSchool friends are like relatives; you can't deny that they were part of your growing up but they come to mean nothing to youAbout death Chaudhuri writes that around the age of sixteen or seventeen you begin to realize that your parents are human and that they will eventually die It grows increasingly clear that you are alone and always have been Finally reflecting on life he says that it is not everyone's cup of tea Since there is little choice in the matter one assumes that life must be an excellent thing and that it is one's own fault if it isn't There is no option but to remain invested in life and irrespective of age we simply pretend that we have decided to be exactly where we are To conclude told in first person narration moving between the past and the present taking the reader on a short but important tour of Bombay that was and Mumbai that is and meditating simultaneously on many things Friend of My Youth is a gem of a novel Friend of My Youth by Amit Chaudhuri published by Hamish Hamilton Penguin Random House India 2017

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characters õ Friend of My Youth Û PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook Ð [Ebook] ➩ Friend of My Youth By Amit Chaudhuri – In Friend of My Youth a novelist named Amit Chaudhuri visits his childhood home of Bombay The city reeling from the impact of the 2008 terrorist attacks weighs heavily on his miL grapple with in our lives what does it mean to exist in both the past and the present It is a striking reminder that as the Guardian has said 'Chaudhuri has been pushing away at form trying to make something new of the novel. The writing is by no means underwhelming The book is in fact mesmerizing in its own niche way and well writtenThe novel if at all a fiction in its entirety is full of nostalgia and works as a fine travelogue for MumbaiBombay A desirable throwback one could sayBut so far as the story is concerned i was personally expecting something TOTALLY different Just not for me