The Grammarian

The Grammarian

A Novel

Book - 2013
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Baker & Taylor
Hosted by the wealthy Adivi family in a remote part of India while studying the Telugu language in the fall of 1911, ambitious French philologist Alexandre Lautens is condemned by the family patriarch for pursuing a relationship with the family's polio-stricken daughter, who has been relegated to spinsterhood after the marriage of her beautiful younger sister. 10,000 first printing.

Perseus Publishing
In the fall of 1911, Alexandre Lautens, an ambitious French philologist, sweeps into a remote part of India to study the Telugu language. Hosted by a local wealthy landowner and his family, Lautens arrives at a moment of change for the Adivis: Mohini, the younger and strikingly beautiful daughter is about to marry, an act which will inevitably condem her older sister, who suffers from being plain and disfigured, to spinsterhood.

Intellectually curious by nature, the elder sister Anjali is beguiled by Lautens, and as they find an intimacy within language, an unexpected relationship develops. After Anjali confesses that her disfigurement ? a lasting injury from polio ? has kept her from swimming since her childhood, Lautens surprises her with a trip to the beach. Regardless of what might have happened between them, Adivi is outraged when he hears word of their outing. Thinking his daughter a tramp and Lautens a predator, both are swiftly kicked out, left to fend for themselves?separately?as they try to navigate what really happened.

Lautens returns to France, never sure if he should have remained part of Anjali’s life. Anjali flees too, seeking a life of political activism she never knew possible. Despite a life brimming with independence and bravery, Anjali never loses sight of the man who, however briefly, filled her heart.


Baker
& Taylor

Hosted by the wealthy Adivi family in a remote part of India while studying the Telugu language in the fall of 1911, French philologist Alexandre Lautens is condemned by the family patriarch for pursuing a relationship with the family's polio-stricken daughter.

Publisher: Berkeley, CA : Counterpoint : Distributed by Publishers Group West, c2013.
ISBN: 9781619021020
1619021021
Characteristics: 257 p. ; 24 cm.

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writermala
Sep 14, 2014

This novel captures the essence of the early twentieth Century India, still under British rule. Alexandre Lautens a linguist and philologist from Paris arrives in the small town of Waltair in South India to perfect his knowledge of Telugu and write a grammar book. He gets mired in the social nuances of the family life of his hosts, the Adivis and unknowingly offends them. The elder Adivi daughter, Anjali, is the main female character and the author has portrayed her feelings really well. Also a strong character is the grandmother, Kanakadurga amma garu. Alexandre conveys his opinion of language in one important sentence in the book: "Perhaps, like fear, or love, language is an instinct not a skill." I enjoyed reading this book very much.

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