Anita Desai: Baumgartner's Bombay

(1717 words)

Elaine Yee Lin Ho describes Anita Desai’s tenth novel Baumgartner’s Bombay (1988) as “Desai’s retrospective on the century” (52). In her most historically and geographically ambitious text – the first to be written outside her native India – Desai engages with the Nazi occupation of Europe, the repercussions of the Second World War, Indian Independence, and the violence of Partition. These cataclysmic events are introduced to the text via the experiences of the title character, Hugo Baumgartner, signalling a central theme of the novel: the relationship between the individual and the grand narratives of history. Baumgartner is a German Jew who escaped Nazi persecution for India, but was …

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Bird, Emma . "Baumgartner's Bombay". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 August 2010
[, accessed 30 November 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. Indian Prose Fiction in English