Siddhartha Deb grew up in a remote town in the northeastern hills of India and made his way to the United States via a fellowship at Columbia. Six years after leaving home, he returned as an undercover reporter for The Guardian, working at a call center in Delhi in 2004, a time when globalization was fast proceeding and Thomas L. Friedman declared the world flat. Deb's experience interviewing the call-center staff led him to undertake this book and travel throughout the subcontinent.
The Beautiful and the Damned examines India's many contradictions through various individual and extraordinary perspectives. With lyrical and commanding prose, Deb introduces the reader to an unforgettable group of Indians, including a Gatsby-like mogul in Delhi whose hobby is producing big-budget gangster films that no one sees; a wiry, dusty farmer named Gopeti whose village is plagued by suicides and was the epicenter of a riot; and a sad-eyed waitress named Esther who has set aside her dual degrees in biochemistry and botany to serve Coca-Cola to arms dealers at an upscale hotel called Shangri La.
Like no other writer, Deb humanizes the post-globalization experience—its advantages, failures, and absurdities. India is a country where you take a nap and someone has stolen your job, where you buy a BMW but still have to idle for cows crossing your path. A personal, narrative work of journalism and cultural analysis in the same vein as Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's Random Family and V. S. Naipaul's India series, The Beautiful and the Damned is an important and incisive new work.
The Beautiful and the Damned is a Publishers Weekly Best Nonfiction title for 2011.
Siddhartha Deb, who teaches creative writing at the New School, is the author of two novels: The Point of Return, which was a 2003 New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and An Outline of the Republic. His reviews and journalism have appeared in The Boston Globe, The Guardian, Harper's Magazine, The Nation, New Statesman, n+1, and The Times Literary Supplement.
From the author of The Great Gatsby, a tale of marriage and disappointment in the Roaring Twenties.
Fitzgerald’s rich and detailed novel of the decadent Jazz Era follows the beautiful and vibrant Anthony Patch and his wife Gloria as they navigate the heady lifestyle of the young and wealthy in 1920s New York. Patch is the presumptive heir to his grandfather’s fortune, and keeps his equally spoiled wife in comfort while biding time until his grandfather’s death. Patch is unable to hold down any kind of job and spends his days in luxury, indulging in whatever pleasures are available. But as the money begins to fail, so does their marriage. Patch’s gradual descent into alcoholism, depression and alienation from his marriage ultimately lead to his ruin. Fitzgerald’s novel is a remorseless exploration of the horrors of an age of excess and lost innocence.
F. Scott Fitzgerald is regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Despite his present popularity, Fitzgerald was often in financial trouble, due to the fact that only one of his novels sold well enough to support the extravagant lifestyle that he and his wife Zelda adopted, and later Zelda’s medical bills. His novel The Great Gatsby has sold millions of copies and remains a continual best-seller.