Adventures of Faizur Rasul
Anita Desai
BENGAL TO BIRMINGHAM by Faizur Rasul Andre Deutsch London, 1981, 208 pp., price not stated
Jan-Feb 1981, volume 5, No 1/2

This unexpected and delightful autobio­graphy would have been extra-ordinary enough for its lively, concrete and witty prose (all qualities rarely found in English written by Indian authors) but becomes even more so when one discovers it is the work of a Bengali Muslim who left school—the Victoria Memorial High School at Memari, a country town a few miles away from his village in the Burdwan district—at the age of fourteen to start earning his living. He did this in a rich variety of ways that make for a positively Rabelaisian recital which proved, in my case, such enjoyable reading that I wished for a second volume. Mr Rasul has not only the gift for living fully, an attractive enough feature, but also an unusual gift for in­fusing his prose with this quality. The picaresque account of his search for a living follows him from his Bengal village, just barely set rippling by the flung stone of the Civil Disobedience movement, to New Market in Calcutta where he worked as a shop assistant.

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