From Publishers Weekly
Dasgupta spins a self-consciously modern tapestry of freewheeling fantasies and subverted fairy tales with his ambitious first book. When a severe blizzard in Tokyo diverts a 747 to a remote airport, the stranded passengers gather around the baggage carousel to trade the sort of stories that strangers don't typically swap, unless one's fellow travelers are Beckett and Borges. Refracting the contemporary world's metropolises through a dystopian once-upon-a-time sensibility, Dasgupta tackles themes of transit, dislocation and uprootedness. His critique of consumerism and the global economy can be humorous: in "The Store on Madison Avenue," Robert de Niro's half-Chinese illegitimate son, Pavel, unites with Martin Scorsese and Isabella Rossellini's love child, who eats a magic box of Oreo cookies that transforms her into an upscale New York boutique. Dasgupta takes a more didactic tone in "The Memory Editor," about the prodigal son of an investment banker who goes to work for a corporate enterprise called "MyPastâ¢," which gathers and markets ejected memories when a London of the near future literally loses its sense of history. Other tales discover poignant moments of connection, as when a wingless bird hobbles across Europe to reunite two lost lovers. Though Dasgupta's postmodern stories can be too pat, his sprawling, experimental project achieves an exotic luster. Agent, Jennifer Joel. (May)
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In the spirit of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
, Dasgupta's first novel assembles fanciful tales--a baker's dozen of them--told by a random assortment of travelers. In the midst of a blinding snowstorm that shuts down Tokyo's main airport, 13 stranded tourists pass the hours by spinning stories that reflect their diverse and colorful backgrounds. A rural tailor is commissioned by a prince to create a unique silk robe, but his life collapses in ruins when ignorant guards refuse to let him deliver the goods. The disowned son of a wealthy banker lands a job cataloging memories for an increasingly amnesiac population of modern-day London, only to discover his father among the company's customers. In perhaps the most outlandish and risque tale, Robert DeNiro's illegitimate son stumbles on the secret of transforming matter via a magical box of Oreo cookies. Dasgupta's themes run the gamut from loss and betrayal to uprootedness and alienation in a magical realist manner that echoes the best of Garcia Marquez and makes for irresistibly absorbing entertainment. Carl HaysCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved