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In this delightful collection—his second work of fiction—one of the most celebrated observers of Indian politics and society takes us back to the 1980s, when India was at a crossroad and economic liberalization was yet to happen. Set in the villages of eastern Uttar Pradesh, these are stories about ordinary people finding memorable ways to deal with bad governance, inequality and corruption.
A timid, elderly Dalit defies tradition to build a temple; a farmer’s wife plots to save her family from the follies of her tractor-hating husband; a retired headmistress leads the fight to save an endangered railway line; a politician’s son discovers that politics isn’t a family business after all; a peaceable, unambitious sub-inspector surprises everyone by solving a high-profile murder. Marked by warmth, wit and a keen and compassionate eye for the everyday human theatre of rural India, Upcountry Tales is a supremely engaging collection.