The Point of Return by Siddhartha Deb
a novel

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Set in the remote northeastern hills of India, the story revolves around the father-son relationship of a willful curious boy, Babu, and Doctor Dam, an enigmatic product of British colonial rule and Nehruvian nationalism. Told in reverse chronological order, the novel examines an India where the ideals that brought freedom from colonial rule are beginning to crack under the pressure of new rebellions and conflicts. For Dr. Dam and Babu this has meant living as strangers in the same home, puzzled and resentful, tied only by blood. As the father grows weary and old and the son tries to understand him, clashes between ethnic groups in their small town show them to be strangers to their country as well. Before long Babu finds himself embarking on a great journey, an odyssey through the memories of his father, his family, and his nation.

The Point of Return poignantly explores the precarious balance of familial relationships built around secrets and the intrusions of political conflicts outside the control of individuals. From start to finish it is a powerful, moving, and unforgettable story.


About Siddhartha Deb

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Siddhartha Deb was born in northeastern India in 1970. His first novel, The Point of Return, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. His reviews and journalism have appeared in the Boston Globe, the Guardian, The Nation, the New Statesman, and the Times Literary Supplement. He came to New York on a literary fellowship in 1998, and now divides his time between India and New York.
Published March 4, 2003 by Ecco. 320 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Parenting & Relationships. Fiction

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His innate sense of propriety and his unwillingness to abuse his position for personal gain, however, made him something of an anomaly in the new regime—which was rife with nepotism and corruption—and even created tensions between Dam and his son Babu, who considered his father’s notions of duty ...

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India Today

Perhaps) trying to break free of this circle of discontent where personal lives reflect national history in a long-neglected part of the country, too distant from the centre of political power to be cared about, yet not far enough to escape its clutches.

Sep 30 2002 | Read Full Review of The Point of Return: a novel

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