Saturday, July 19, 2014

Book Review: In Custody by Anita Desai

In Custody is my first book by Anita Desai. I'm glad I read her. If I could express my thoughts about this book in one line, I would say "It was a learning experience!"

The story of In Custody is about Deven, a lecturer of Hindi, his favourite Urdu poet Nur and Urdu poetry. Deven's friend Murad, who runs an Urdu magazine, thinks Urdu literature is on the verge of extinction and asks him to do an interview of legendary poet Nur. Deven finds it a golden opportunity and visits his favourite poet. But the gloominess and harsh reality of Nur's life leaves him shocked and agonized.

This book is a melancholic journey that shows rude faces of friendship and marriage. The narration and plot of this book was intense and a little complex for me. Narration is very descriptive and sometimes I found it tiring. Basically, this book demands depth and patience. Writing is beautiful! Words flow like a stream.

Honestly, the story is dark and gloomy.  I won't say this book was gripping or I enjoyed reading it but beautiful writing style acts as sunshine. I think every (Avid) reader and writer must read Anita Desai's book at least once. But if you like reading light fiction this book is not for you.

In Custody was made into a film, starring Shashi Kapoor and Om Puri.

I got this book from Random House India for an honest review.


  1. Wonderful review! Thanks for being concise and to the point. It tells me I should pass on it as I like light reading!

  2. A very nice review Tarang! :)