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July 28, 1999
Vakil's Widely Praised First Novel Now Available In Paperback
Beach Boy, a poignant and funny first novel by Ardashir Vakil, is now available in paperback edition in America through Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster.
The widely praised novel brought raves from fellow novelist and critic John Updike who found in it 'a long ode to boyish hunger, and to the rich variety of stuffs that hold it at bay.'
'Beach Boy gives us an India remembered, like Nabokov's Russia,' Updike added in his review inThe New Yorker.
'A highly original book... sharp, funny, and fast,' said Salman Rushdie in his introduction to Mirrorworks, a celebration of Independent India's fiction.
The novel tells the story of Cyrus Readymoney, a smart and silver-tongued, eight year old who is also shameless. He's the mainstay of Beach Boy, a coming of age novel set among the Parsis in Bombay, circa 1970.
'London-based Vakil manages extraordinary things in this debut as he conveys the sights, smells, and especially the tastes of his native Bombay through the voracious appetites of a movie-mad, sex-crazed, ever-hungry young boy,' the Kirkus Reviews noted
'A sensual feast and a glutton's delight, this is also a moving, beautifully nuanced tale of a precocious boy and a childhood's premature end.'
The winner of a Betty Trask award and a finalist for the Whitbread Prize for first fiction in England, Beach Boy was praised by American and British critics for riding the crest of a new wave of Indian fiction that is bringing out fresh voices. Vakil, 37, wrote the book taking away a few hours from his teaching job in England.
Despite lavish reviews, the hardcover edition, published last year almost went unnoticed. The book did not get the kind of display first-timers Kiran Desai and Sanjay Nigam's books received. Beach Boy was not even prominently displayed in many bookshops. The paperback edition, hopefully, corrects those mistakes.
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