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Tokyo Cancelled


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/ Includes PS Section A major international debut novel from a storyteller who couples a timelessly beguiling style with an energetically modern worldscape. / Tokyo Cancelled marks the beginning of an exhilarating literary career for Rana Dasgupta. / It received rave review and feature coverage on publication of the hardcover. / Tokyo Cancelled will appeal to all lovers of magical realism and is comparable to authors such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende and Jonathan Safran-Foer.

About the Author

Rana Dasgupta was born in 1971, and grew up in Cambridge. He worked for a marketing consultancy in London and New York for a few years before moving to Delhi to write. His first novel, 'Tokyo Cancelled', a thirteen-part story cycle, was published in 2005 to widespread acclaim and has been translated into nine languages. Dasgupta now lives permanently in Delhi, and writes for several periodicals, including the Guardian, New Statesman and BBC radio.


Dasgupta spins a self-consciously modern tapestry of freewheeling fantasies and subverted fairy tales with his ambitious first book. When a severe blizzard in Tokyo diverts a 747 to a remote airport, the stranded passengers gather around the baggage carousel to trade the sort of stories that strangers don't typically swap, unless one's fellow travelers are Beckett and Borges. Refracting the contemporary world's metropolises through a dystopian once-upon-a-time sensibility, Dasgupta tackles themes of transit, dislocation and uprootedness. His critique of consumerism and the global economy can be humorous: in "The Store on Madison Avenue," Robert de Niro's half-Chinese illegitimate son, Pavel, unites with Martin Scorsese and Isabella Rossellini's love child, who eats a magic box of Oreo cookies that transforms her into an upscale New York boutique. Dasgupta takes a more didactic tone in "The Memory Editor," about the prodigal son of an investment banker who goes to work for a corporate enterprise called "MyPast," which gathers and markets ejected memories when a London of the near future literally loses its sense of history. Other tales discover poignant moments of connection, as when a wingless bird hobbles across Europe to reunite two lost lovers. Though Dasgupta's postmodern stories can be too pat, his sprawling, experimental project achieves an exotic luster. Agent, Jennifer Joel. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

'Only the most gifted writers, like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jonathan Safran-Foer, can hold the surreal and the real in satisfying equilibrium. This elite now welcomes Rana Dasgupta to its ranks. He makes magic realism his own, and his debut novel is superb. The novel's momentum comes from the narrators, though the plot in which they come together is deceptively mundane: their plane is grounded and they tell stories to pass the night. But this is just the structural glue for a series of spellbinding tales composed in a crisp but poetic prose which already has the hallmarks of a signature style. Dasgupta's gift for inventing stories is quite remarkable: you feel he could go on forever and never get boring. TOKYO CANCELLED is profound, but in the humblest and most sensitive way. A treat.' Andrew Staffell, Time Out 'Book of the Week' 'Executed with elegance and charm' The Guardian 'This is a very bold, very striking book. In an age when so many first fictions are thinly veiled autobiography, and every other creative writing tutor is peddling the 'Write what you know' mantra, it is exceptionally refreshing to read a writer who is daring to imagine, rather than transcribe. TOKYO CANCELLED is an unforgettable book, with its own peculiar charms. I shall be fascinated to see what happens next.' Staurt Kelly, The Scotsman

In this ambitious first novel, travelers stuck overnight in an airport create a modern Arabian Nights by telling stories to pass the time. The format allows for a witty interweaving of classic fairy tale and fable conventions with contemporary settings (one story begins, "In the city of London, there was once a wealthy stockbroker who had three sons"). Stories unfold with arresting juxtapositions of cultures and characters: an ancient Turkish crone gives her daughter to a satellite navigational systems expert, and a Bollywood superstar gives birth to a storytelling dwarf who becomes an advertising phenomenon. Dasgupta, who has lived on several continents, has sufficient imagination to capture the myriad cultural discordances of modern life, and his offerings of dreamlike absurdities and postmodern irony evoke Borges and other modern myth makers. But the cumulative effect is a kind of inertia, weighted by a bleak moral landscape relentlessly peopled by the brutal, selfish, petty, or vengeful. When the stories fail to resonate, they lack the fanciful energy and sense of wonder that seem to enliven the best fables, ancient and modern alike. Suitable for large public libraries and academic libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/05.]-Laurie Sullivan, Sage Group International, Smyrna, TN Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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