Out of Print is really pleased to be featuring an excerpt from Mahesh Rao’s The Smoke is Rising. The book has received much attention, and been widely reviewed. Here is a link to what The Spectator says, and here to the DNA books page.
'What Rao does excellently is delineate the social layers of Mysore', says the Times Literary Supplement. This is subtly evident even in the segment we feature that takes place in the Mahalakshmi Gardens Betterment Association, a group fraught with politics and one-upmanship. We are drawn in to the world of Susheela, a widow, and at the end of the extract, are left wanting to know more.
The future is here. India has just sent its first spacecraft to the moon, and the placid city of Mysore is gearing up for its own global recognition with the construction of HeritageLand – Asia’s largest theme park. From behind the formidable gates of Mahalakshmi Gardens to the shanty houses on the edge of town, the people of Mysore are abuzz as they watch their city prepare for a complete transformation.
As government officials make plans for the expected tourism extravaganza, Mysore’s residents find themselves swept up in the ferment. Susheela, an elderly widow, is forced into a secretive new life. Uma, trying to escape her painful past, learns the lasting power of local gossip. And Mala must finally confront the reality of her husband’s troubling behaviour.
Savagely funny and deeply poignant, ‘The Smoke is Rising’ is a riveting portrait of a city hurtling towards an epic clash of modernity and tradition, and all the wandering souls – some hopeful, some broken, and a few somewhere in between – who find themselves caught in the middle.