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The Five Dollar Smile: And Other Stories Hardcover – June 25, 1993

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although Tharoor wrote most of these 15 precocious tales in his teens and early 20s, they display the gift for sparkling social satire and sharp observation of life in India that he brought to The Great Indian Novel and Show Business. Several of them are perfect. Whether depicting a self-important police inspector who bungles a homicide investigation ("The Political Murder"), an orphan who feels manipulated by a child relief agency ("The Five-Dollar Smile"), or a college student who survives a scooter crash in which his friend dies ("The Pyre"), Tharoor has a fine eye for caste and class consciousness. He mocks India's "mod sophisticates," ad executives and bureaucrats. Irreverent tales of college life mingle with intense family dramas: a 17-year-old carries on a brief, torrid affair with his married "Auntie Rita" and "The Professor's Daughter" is brutally beaten by her old father because of her presumed flirtations. Tharoor, who now lives in New York, sets his funniest tale in the U.S. Fittingly, "The Solitude of the Short Story Writer" shows the protagonist scandalizing his friends by writing acerbic, revelatory stories about them.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Most of the tales in this collection were written when Tharoor ( Show Business , LJ 5/15/92) was in his late teens and early twenties. Though some of the subject matter is quite adult in nature, the presentation is charmingly naive, exhibiting an unpracticed skill and freshness that recalls creative writing class assignments. Making the best possible use of Tharoor's then-limited experience, these deeply personal stories depict the joys and sorrows of youth and the lessons learned while attaining maturity in locations ranging from Bombay to New York. Recommended for public libraries.
- Joanna M. Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Providence
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 175 pages
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing; 1st North American ed edition (June 25, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559702257
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559702256
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,919,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on September 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A very compelling read, this book by Shashi Tharoor is a collection of short stories written by the author in his teens and early 20s.This book is a beautiful collection of writings by Tharoor before the well-known "The Great Indian Novel" and is in a different genre from the author's other books.
Each story starts with a note by the author disussing the mindset in which the story was written, and the age at which he wrote it, thus giving the reader a better insight into the story.
The stories are diverse in nature and use the backdrop of India to give the reader a view of the country and the people from a youth's point of view. The title story is a sensitive portrayal of an orphan who is the face on the poster of a fund-raiser campaign for the orphanage. "The boutique" is another touching story revealing the discrimination that soceity imposes on its classes and its impact on a young boy.
The stories in this book impress with their simplicity and subtleness. Most of all, it brought back memories of youth in me. A book I enjoyed immensely!
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