Winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award (now Fellow of the Akademi), Anita Desai has been active on the literary scene for over four decades now. Her published works include adult novels, children’s books and short stories. Clear Light of Day, In Custody and Fasting Feasting were shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and The Village by the Sea won the Guardian Award for children’s Fiction. In Custody, to quote Salman Rushdie, is “an anguished, but not at all a bitter book” that portrays the “miraculous intimacy” between a Hindi teacher Deven Sharma and the greatest living Urdu poet, Nur Shahjehanabadi, now well past his prime. When he goes to interview his idol, Deven has no inkling that he will end up as the ‘custodian’ both of Nur’s friendship and of his poetry even though the interview is a fiasco. The novel has been assessed and analysed from every possible angle to meet the requirements of our university students at graduate and post-graduate levels in this critical study. Shakti Batra has been Vice-Principal, Dyal Singh College (University of Delhi), has also taught at the Kabul University and the University of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek.

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