Book Club: Fasting, Feasting by Anita Desai

AST Office, Level 3, Pilkington Library and Microsoft Teams

a pile of books

Join staff from Pilkington Library as the University Book Club marks South Asian Heritage Month with a discussion of Anita Desai’s intricate family drama.

Plain, umarriageable Uma has failed to outgrow her childhood home, with its bittersweet treats of puri-alu and barfi. Overprotected and starved for a life, she is smothered by her overbearing parents, successful sister Aruna, and Arun, the family’s disappointment of a son. 

Across the world in Massachusetts, where Arun has gone as a student, family life in an American suburb is bewilderingly different. The Pattons, who he lives with, appear strange and terrible. The women don’t appear to cook at all, though they stuff their shopping carts; the men barbecue huge chunks of meat; their daughter binges on innumerable candy bars. Increasingly, Mrs Patton is desperate to be a vegetarian, like Arun. But what Arun wants most is to be invisible. 

Moving from a traditional India household to an American one, Fasting, Feasting is a powerful exploration of hunger and plenty; and one of Anita Desai’s most socially acute novels.

Content note: Please note that content notes are based on information available online. 

Access to the book

The Library has a subscription to Libby, the leisure reading app widely used by public libraries. Libby enables the Library to support the wellbeing of all its users by providing access to leisure reading, wellbeing, and audiobook titles. Content includes ebooks, emagazines, and much more. To get started, simply download the Libby app and sign in. The app can be downloaded from the app store, or from a link on the Libby homepage. 

Through Libby, the Library have purchased an ebook of Fasting, Feasting, though, unfortunately due to licencing restrictions, it’s one-user at a time only. 

About Book Club

The University Book Club is run by staff from Pilkington Library and is open to all current and former students and staff of Loughborough University. It meets in person in the Library but the meetings can also be accessed remotely via Teams. 

To join the Book Club, please subscribe to the mailing list (which uses JISC-mail) using the link below. You can also join the Book Club on Microsoft Teams.

Join the Book Club mailing list 

Join Book Club on Microsoft Teams

Join the Book Club on Teams