Sunetra Gupta writes of ambiguities brilliantly. Her language swoops from evocative reconstruction of memories and landscapes to sharply focused depictions of social encounters. She is as much at ease describing the seashore and gardens of Bengal or the streets of Kolkata as she is describing Christmas in a country house in Ireland. She also layers events so they reflect on one another.
[A] novel that is spacious enough to host a lifetime’s worth of impressions, memories worthy and seemingly unworthy, a constellation of impressions that together conjoin at a single time and place, when a man is confronted with a simple moral decision.
Although a decade has passed since Sunetra Gupta’s last novel, this lucid and mesmerizing masterpiece shows she has used every minute of that time wisely.... This is an exquisite, mournful novel that focuses on the intersection of memory and reality to reveal how, and how often, we deceive ourselves.
Gupta’s nonlinear plot is as twisted as the relationships between her characters, and ... the landscapes dazzle.
Well worth the wait: So Good in Black, Sunetra Gupta’s first novel in ten years, is character-driven literary fiction, featuring a non-linear plot, Spartan passages of stylized and pointed verbal jousting between characters, and highly evocative descriptive passages... Gupta’s most powerful work to date challenges the reader with the dynamic and often contradictory shadows cast by friendship across the illusory counterpane of certainty and time.
Sunetra Gupta’s work is genuinely challenging, rare and enriching... The creator of a prose which is capable of the subtlest artistic resonance, she deserves the depth of response we accord to the very best of writers.
Memories of Rain is the exquisite first novel from the uniquely gifted young writer, Sunetra Gupta. This writer’s prose is, quite simply, ravishing. Each page is a breathtaking stream of luminously sensuous images which immerse the reader in the exhilerating beauty of Gupta’s prose.
The writing in Memories of Rain is complex, fusing poetic imagery with yearning, passionate streams of consciousness. Observation, comment and vision are all finely and uniquely set forth.
The interior monologue that powers her books is delivered with stunning grace and will surely lay the first-time novelist open to comparison with Virginia Woolf.
Gupta’s poetic and figurative language, springing abundantly from free association and allied to the continuous time-shifts, is reminiscent of Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse.
Not since Anita Desai has an Indian woman written like this, or written so well.... But Gupta’s debut also breaks new ground: hers is a feeling contribution to the literature of displacement, an elegiac rendering of the cultural loss that emigration entails.
The Glassblower’s Breath builds with a creepy, loving hum to a startling, tragic crescendo. As voyeurs, we know there is no acceptable resolution to the madness, just inevitable doom. We expect it, yet are taken aback nonetheless. Gupta hypnotizes us toward the climax of the novel with luminous precision, and we joyously succumb to her masterful dreamscape.
Hailed as Virginia Woolf’s literary heir, Sunetra Gupta also bids for the mantle of T. S. Eliot. Her narrator, like Tiresias, floats freely through every character’s mind and makes few compromises for reader-comfort. Competing lovers flutter around her incandescence while she attempts to exorcise her sister’s death. Despite the melodramatic ending, this novel-as-poetry will make the next book you pick up seem prosaic by contrast.
Amid the rickety bricolage of his Calcutta garage-turned-laboratory, a dreamy young scientist, Promotesh, discovers how to create life out of inanimate matter, making chlorophyll from his wife’s copper ear stud. This feat is described as “turning gold into grass,” or “moonlight into marzipan.“ Hence the poetic title of Sunetra Gupta’s characteristically lyrical third novel. In her work, even the quotidian—a servant cooking scones for a child, say—is imbued with a melancholic mysticism.
Sunetra Gupta ... has already written two novels, besides being a highly respected medical don at Oxford. Memories of Rain and The Glassblower’s Breath are brilliant achievements, jewelled with colour, and yet having an easy informality which presents a humorously robust and not at all precious personality ... Yet there is nothing lighthearted in her themes, least of all in that of her third novel. Moonlight into Marzipan is about the ramshackle manner in which discoveries of dazzling and onimous significance may be made in science today...
The reader will relish Gupta’s unconventionally long and elegant sentences; her prose rolls off the tongue and forms haunting pictures that linger.
Like an accomplished fabulist, Gupta tells a story that in its deft symmetry and evocation of transcendent emotion resembles more a modern fairy tale than a grimy reprise of adultery.... One of those rare love stories that resonates with passion and intelligence.