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10 thoughts on “We That Are Young

  1. says:

    Now deservedly shortlisted for the Desmond Elliot Prize alongside the outstanding shortlist for the 2017 Republic of Consciousness Prize for 'gorgeous prose and hardcore literary fiction' from small independent presses Edgar The weight of this sad time we must obeySpeak what we feel not what we ought to sayThe oldest hath borne most We that a

  2. says:

    NOW DESERVEDLY THE WINNER OF THE DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE TO FOLLOW ITS SHORTLISING FOR THE REPUBLIC OF CONSCIOUSNESS PRIZE for which I was a judge Galley Beggar Press is a small publisher responsible which aims to produce and

  3. says:

    Update 21618 Now the well deserved winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize 2018 Congratulations to Preti Taneja and all at Galley Beggar This vibrant epic ambitious transplantation of King Lear to modern India is by far the longest book on the Republic of Consciousness Prize shortlist and looks a potential winner Taneja keeps

  4. says:

    We That Are Young has a feel to it that's not dissimilar to Salman Rushdie's recent 2017 novel The Golden House That's praise Both novels ultimately revolve around a big figure a patriarch who is revealed to be rather less worthy of the adulation that his status and visibility might indicate Preti Taneja's Devraj Bapuji to Rushdie's Nero Golden Both books shine a spotlight on an India of the latter 20th century far removed from the deferenc

  5. says:

    This should have been right smack dab in my wheelhouse given my penchant for both Indian lit and Shakespeare it's a modern retelling of Lear but I must say despite some gorgeous prose I found it for the most part rather tedious and almost gave up halfway through In need of much judicious editing the inciting incident of the patriarch's divisi

  6. says:

    NOW RE READ AFTER ITS INCLUSION ON THE REPUBLIC OF CONSCIOUSNESS PRIZE LONG LISTWe That Are Young is published by Galley Beggar Press Perhaps best known as the publisher that took the risk on A Girl Is a Half formed Thing after everyone else had rejected it it went on to win the Women’s Prize for Fiction Galley Beggar Press is also the publisher of the wonderful Forbidden Line that I read earlier this year and which remains one

  7. says:

    A modern day re telling of King Lear 'We Are That Young' is a brilliant exploration of greed corruption and vice in modern India The novel follows the aristocrat cum royal family of Devraj; a patriarch whose puissance dissolves once he cedes ownership of his company to his elder daughters Garghi and Radha only to rise ephemerally like a phoenix in a haze of self righteous indignation against the corruption inherent in the company

  8. says:

    I've picked up this book as it received a lot of positive reviews here and has won Desmond Elliot prize for the first novel

  9. says:

    We that are young by Preti Taneja is a fabulous reworking of King Lear Having enjoyed a number of adaptations of this Shakespearean tragedy on

  10. says:

    A great book can be great at different levels but a bad one doesn’t have that luxury Mislaid by all the hype and praise from western critics

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Characters Þ PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB ☆ Preti Taneja

Napurthala to Srinagar Kashmir Told in astonishing prose – a great torrent of words and imagery – We that are young is a modern day King Lear that bursts with energy and fierce beautifully measured rage Set against the backdrop of the anti corruption protests in 2011–2012 it provides startling insights into modern India the clash of youth and age the hectic pace of life in one of the world’s fastest growing economies – and the ever present spectre of death More than that this is a novel about the human heart And its breaking poin. A modern day re telling of King Lear We Are That Young is a brilliant exploration of greed corruption and vice in modern India The novel follows the aristocrat cum royal family of Devraj a patriarch whose puissance dissolves once he cedes ownership of his company to his elder daughters Garghi and Radha only to rise ephemerally like a phoenix in a haze of self righteous indignation against the corruption inherent in the company he set up riding a wife of populism based on deep seated misogyny and malevolent nationalism We Are That Young both eschews the limitations so often placed on Indian literature whilst at the same time exploring the problems inherent in modern Indian society the uneven distribution of wealth the rise of parochial religious fundamentalism and the cultural schizophrenia India is experiencing under the relentless waves of globalizationThere story is told via multiple narrators Jivan the illegitimate son of Devraj s right hand man Ranjit is the first and penultimate narrator A vapid and ultimately egoistical young man Jivan acts as the catalyst for the corruption and downfall of Garghi trapped in a loveless relationship with a neurotic husband and Radha married to the bellicose buffoon Bubu Jivan is the key by which both characters break free from the shackles of their father Devraj Whilst objectively speaking the reader s sympathies should lie with Devraj Tenaja influenced partially by King Lear paints Devraj as a chauvinistic egoist concerned with his pride and money than his daughters propagating a philosophy which is a mix of bigotry misogyny and populism any tragic elements of his downfall are skewered by his selfish characteristics Again although Garghi and Radha are ostensibly the villains of the story Taneja s multi faceted characterisation enables the reader to understand the reasons for their frustrations of being forever trapped in the roles society expects of them as women The other principle characters are Ranjit s soon Jeet who undergoes a ultimately fruitless spiritual epiphany after going through an existential crisis about the emptiness of life and the meaningless of his wealth The heroine of the story and one of the few positive characters is Devraj s youngest daughter Sita whose truculence in refusing to marry sets off the chain of events which takes over the character s lives Beneath this Taneja s India shimmers forth via a blaze of colours and sounds the effervescent sun set on a sultry evening the degradation of the slums the superficiality of the super rich Taneja captures and describes modern Indian with a verve and vivacity which is reminiscent of Salman Rushdie from the corrupt curmudgeons who hold power to the servility of the poor and the weight of Westernization which Indian society is labouring under Taneja is able to capture the complex contradictory and often cruel contractions of a society undergoing constant flux and change and of a family which is driving and leading much of that change a family which like wider Indian society becomes steadily dehumanised with money and power

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We That Are Young

The story of a billionaire family dynasty led by a gold plated madman stewed in corruption mired in violence riven by infighting deception and lies The resonances will be there for anyone who knows King Lear not to mention anyone struggling to come to terms with the new world order from the rise of the religious right wing in India to the Trump dynasty in the United States This is not just Shakespeare repurposed for our times – it’s a novel that urgently matters in 2017 and which will resonate for years to come Jivan Singh the bastard. NOW DESERVEDLY THE WINNER OF THE DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE TO FOLLOW ITS SHORTLISING FOR THE REPUBLIC OF CONSCIOUSNESS PRIZE for which I was a judge Galley Beggar Press is a small publisher responsible which aims to produce and support beautiful books and a vibrant eclectic risk taking range of literature and which declares an aim to publish books that are hardcore literary fiction and gorgeous prose a description which has been taken as the criteria for the Republic Of Consciousness prizeIts most striking success to date has been in being prepared to publish Eimear McBride s A Girl Is a Half formed Thing which had taken 9 years to find a publisher and of course went on to win the Bailey s Prize We That Are Young is a debut novel by Preti Taneja a human rights advocate and literary academic Between 2014 16 she held a Post Doc position at ueen Mary University of London and Warwick University working on Shakespeare performances in relation to human rights abuses and in humanitarian situationsThis novel flows directly from her joint interests and is explicitly a re telling of King Lear set in India in the early 2010 s against a background of the 2011 12 anti corruption protests which form very much of the foreground in Arundhati Roy s The Ministry of Utmost HappinessGalley Beggar Press s co founder has commented much like our author Eimear McBride when Preti s novel was first submitted to us it came with a history of ecstatic rejections from editors who almost universally felt that her writing was extraordinary but too tricksy to be a commercial successThe book s title is taken from the closing speech in King Lear attributed to Albany or to Edgar in the two key versions of the play The weight of this sad time we must obey Speak what we feel not what we ought to sayThe oldest hath borne most We that are youngShall never see so much nor live so long In the author s words While writing We That Are Young I worked in New Delhi and Kashmir and spoke to many people from different castes class backgrounds and religions about the feverish times they felt they were living in The title of my book comes from the end of Shakespeare s play and evokes the power of the fact that India is the world s youngest and fastest growing democracyThe key protagonists in the book and their King Lear counterparts are Devraj Bapuji King Lear billionaire owner of the eponymous Devraj Conglomerate and his daughters the eldest Gargu Goneril married to the stolid Surenda Albany the flighty and fashionable Radha Regan married to the ambituous Bubu Cornwall the youngest Sita Cordelia an environmentally aware Cambridge studentDevraj s right hand man Ranjit Singh Gloucester his gay heir Jeet Edgar and his illegitimate son Jivan Edmund The book opens with Jivan returning from imposed exile in America after the death of his mother Devraj s singer mistress and reacuainting himself with his childhood friends Gargu and Radha at the same time as a returning party arranged for Sita at her graduation At a lunch on the Day of Jivan s return Devraj announces he is splitting the company between his daughters only for Sita s refusal to pay homege to him leading to him renouncing her inheritance Jivan meanwhile sows seeds of mistrust between his father and brother all of this of course a character by character re enactment of the basic plot of King Lear and which is also followed by King Lear echoing discord between Devraj and his Head of Security Kritik Kent and then a wedge between Devraj and his daughters due to the behaviour of Devraj s hundreds Lear s retinue of a hundred servants a hand selected cadre of high fliersThe book is written in five lengthy third party point of view sections concentrating in turn on the viewpoints of Jivan Gargi Radha Jeet and Sita The length of these sections and the use of a continuous present tense as well as the liberal interspersing of only partially translated Hindi in the book can at times make this an exhausting as well as an exhilarating read I was at times reminded of the assault on the senses that many Westerners use to describe their first visit to India One of the interesting choices in the novel is to open with sympathetic accounts of the actions and motivations of those Jivan Gargi and Radha whose King Lear euivalents Edmund Goneril and Regan are effectively unambiguously villians The effect of this as others have pointed out in their reviews is to give a novel which while clearly borrowing heavily from King Lear also gives back some added perspective to that play particularly around the motivations of the full group of protagonistsThe sections are intercut with some first party ramblings from Devraj who early on speculates Now the most winning stories always have the same cast of characters in one form or another There is a set of twins or double beings a trainee architect a father an uncle a brother a desirable sister with no self control and of course incestuous love There is always a narrator an old man in a pickle factory sitting on his chutpoy reading Dickens in the English language framed by a picture of the Taj Mahal The settings are new worlds the language tricksy Pah Making up words and full of doubt What is the value of such stories Expensive papers and lies My story is a simple one come closer if you can The language you understand it in is not the one I am speaking It contains elements of truth the genius of ancients and some modern influences It is priceless and therefore free for all The references to most winning stories seems to directly reference the writing of Salman Rushdie and Arundhati Roy both of whom feature pickle factories in their most famous novels while also implicitly acknowledging the way in which much of modern Indian literary writing draws heavily both on the style of Dickens and implicitly on the implausible plots of Shakespeare and the same could be said to be true for Indian TV Jivan used to watch these hokey Indian serials on Star Plus TV sitting with Ma in the afternoons when he got in from school She loved them all the family dramas with cardboard villains and handsome heroes non stop cases of mistaken identity masters for servants good girls for bad Brothers disguised as each other lovingly beating sisters wives and mothers in law fighting over sons In the end the good would get rich and the bad were punished The lovers would be united with parental blessing kneeling for hands to be raised over their heads in benediction the parents would kneel and beg their children to bless them right back It was always happily ever after the end There are two very distinct literary choices that the author makes in this book both of which struck me as slightly false on a first read but as thoroughly justified on a second The first is referenced above the freuent use of many half translated or untranslated not just Hindi words but full sentences Initially this is to convey the explicit disorientation that the Americanised Devraj first experiences on his return to His homeland as he struggles to recall his childhood Hindi but it is continued throughout the book I understand from interviews with the author that her aim was to convey something of the reality of the world for her and many of her friends living in Hindi speaking households in English speaking countries and therefore simultaneously inhabiting both linguistic worlds Even further than this though is an acknowledgment of the way in which both languages have inspired and fed the other over time As Devraj notes when addressing the reader My story is a simple one the language you understand it is not the one I am speaking It contains elements of truth the genius of ancients and some modern influences It is priceless and therefore free for all The second was the choice to follow not just the main plot but often the dialogue of King Lear and specifically to choose to convey some of the dramatic parts of the original plot the putting in the stocks of Lear s messenger the apocalyptic storm and those that are just odd the gouging of Gloucester s eyes the Dover cliffs bluffed suicide scene literally and not in a imaginative and figurative sense However again I now appreciate that this choice is in many ways fundamental to the author s very conception of this novel her realisation that concepts and events which render King Lear strange to a modern Western reader the extreme patriarchy the use of Lear s fortune as what is effectively dowry the fundamental conflict of ambition family and state unchecked state violence and civil conflict extremes of classcaste the abuse of domestic servants can be understood in a modern context when transplanted across the world Just as King Lear examines the violence that flowed from Lear s partriarchy and his forced and ill thought through division of his Kingdom between his two daughters so We That Are Young could be said to examine the effects of British colonialism and the long lasting impacts of the violence and division that flowed from PartitionOverall a vibrant and wonderful novelMy thanks to Galley Beggar Press for the ARC Burkes Christmas Surprise urgently matters in 2017 and which will resonate for years to come Jivan Singh the bastard. NOW DESERVEDLY THE WINNER OF THE DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE TO FOLLOW ITS SHORTLISING FOR THE REPUBLIC OF CONSCIOUSNESS PRIZE for which I was a judge Galley Beggar Press is a small publisher responsible which aims to produce and support beautiful books and a vibrant eclectic risk taking range of literature and which declares an aim to publish books that are hardcore literary fiction and gorgeous prose a description which has been taken as the criteria for the Republic Of Consciousness prizeIts most striking success to date has been in being prepared to publish Eimear McBride s A Girl Is a Half formed Thing which had taken 9 years to find a publisher and of course went on to win the Bailey s Prize We That Are Young is a debut novel by Preti Taneja a human rights advocate and literary academic Between 2014 16 she held a Post Doc position at A Perfect Blood (The Hollows, ueen Mary University of London and Warwick University working on Shakespeare performances in relation to human rights abuses and in humanitarian situationsThis novel flows directly from her joint interests and is explicitly a re telling of King Lear set in India in the early 2010 s against a background of the 2011 12 anti corruption protests which form very much of the foreground in Arundhati Roy s The Ministry of Utmost HappinessGalley Beggar Press s co founder has commented much like our author Eimear McBride when Preti s novel was first submitted to Just Wars and Moral Victories us it came with a history of ecstatic rejections from editors who almost Two Paradigms for Divine Healing universally felt that her writing was extraordinary but too tricksy to be a commercial successThe book s title is taken from the closing speech in King Lear attributed to Albany or to Edgar in the two key versions of the play The weight of this sad time we must obey Speak what we feel not what we ought to sayThe oldest hath borne most We that are youngShall never see so much nor live so long In the author s words While writing We That Are Young I worked in New Delhi and Kashmir and spoke to many people from different castes class backgrounds and religions about the feverish times they felt they were living in The title of my book comes from the end of Shakespeare s play and evokes the power of the fact that India is the world s youngest and fastest growing democracyThe key protagonists in the book and their King Lear counterparts are Devraj Bapuji King Lear billionaire owner of the eponymous Devraj Conglomerate and his daughters the eldest Gargu Goneril married to the stolid Surenda Albany the flighty and fashionable Radha Regan married to the ambituous Bubu Cornwall the youngest Sita Cordelia an environmentally aware Cambridge studentDevraj s right hand man Ranjit Singh Gloucester his gay heir Jeet Edgar and his illegitimate son Jivan Edmund The book opens with Jivan returning from imposed exile in America after the death of his mother Devraj s singer mistress and reacuainting himself with his childhood friends Gargu and Radha at the same time as a returning party arranged for Sita at her graduation At a lunch on the Day of Jivan s return Devraj announces he is splitting the company between his daughters only for Sita s refusal to pay homege to him leading to him renouncing her inheritance Jivan meanwhile sows seeds of mistrust between his father and brother all of this of course a character by character re enactment of the basic plot of King Lear and which is also followed by King Lear echoing discord between Devraj and his Head of Security Kritik Kent and then a wedge between Devraj and his daughters due to the behaviour of Devraj s hundreds Lear s retinue of a hundred servants a hand selected cadre of high fliersThe book is written in five lengthy third party point of view sections concentrating in turn on the viewpoints of Jivan Gargi Radha Jeet and Sita The length of these sections and the Kenget e Milosaos use of a continuous present tense as well as the liberal interspersing of only partially translated Hindi in the book can at times make this an exhausting as well as an exhilarating read I was at times reminded of the assault on the senses that many Westerners Early Chinese Religion, Part Two (220-589 Ad) use to describe their first visit to India One of the interesting choices in the novel is to open with sympathetic accounts of the actions and motivations of those Jivan Gargi and Radha whose King Lear euivalents Edmund Goneril and Regan are effectively At Europes Borders unambiguously villians The effect of this as others have pointed out in their reviews is to give a novel which while clearly borrowing heavily from King Lear also gives back some added perspective to that play particularly around the motivations of the full group of protagonistsThe sections are intercut with some first party ramblings from Devraj who early on speculates Now the most winning stories always have the same cast of characters in one form or another There is a set of twins or double beings a trainee architect a father an We are the Ship uncle a brother a desirable sister with no self control and of course incestuous love There is always a narrator an old man in a pickle factory sitting on his chutpoy reading Dickens in the English language framed by a picture of the Taj Mahal The settings are new worlds the language tricksy Pah Making Esoteric Buddhism at Dunhuang up words and full of doubt What is the value of such stories Expensive papers and lies My story is a simple one come closer if you can The language you Studies on Steinschneider understand it in is not the one I am speaking It contains elements of truth the genius of ancients and some modern influences It is priceless and therefore free for all The references to most winning stories seems to directly reference the writing of Salman Rushdie and Arundhati Roy both of whom feature pickle factories in their most famous novels while also implicitly acknowledging the way in which much of modern Indian literary writing draws heavily both on the style of Dickens and implicitly on the implausible plots of Shakespeare and the same could be said to be true for Indian TV Jivan Fantasies of Cross-Dressing used to watch these hokey Indian serials on Star Plus TV sitting with Ma in the afternoons when he got in from school She loved them all the family dramas with cardboard villains and handsome heroes non stop cases of mistaken identity masters for servants good girls for bad Brothers disguised as each other lovingly beating sisters wives and mothers in law fighting over sons In the end the good would get rich and the bad were punished The lovers would be Commanders Little Surprise united with parental blessing kneeling for hands to be raised over their heads in benediction the parents would kneel and beg their children to bless them right back It was always happily ever after the end There are two very distinct literary choices that the author makes in this book both of which struck me as slightly false on a first read but as thoroughly justified on a second The first is referenced above the freuent The Holy Roman Empire, 1495-1806 use of many half translated or Come Hell or High Water untranslated not just Hindi words but full sentences Initially this is to convey the explicit disorientation that the Americanised Devraj first experiences on his return to His homeland as he struggles to recall his childhood Hindi but it is continued throughout the book I Selim III, Social Control and Policing in Istanbul at the End of the Eighteenth Century understand from interviews with the author that her aim was to convey something of the reality of the world for her and many of her friends living in Hindi speaking households in English speaking countries and therefore simultaneously inhabiting both linguistic worlds Even further than this though is an acknowledgment of the way in which both languages have inspired and fed the other over time As Devraj notes when addressing the reader My story is a simple one the language you Propaganda Performed understand it is not the one I am speaking It contains elements of truth the genius of ancients and some modern influences It is priceless and therefore free for all The second was the choice to follow not just the main plot but often the dialogue of King Lear and specifically to choose to convey some of the dramatic parts of the original plot the putting in the stocks of Lear s messenger the apocalyptic storm and those that are just odd the gouging of Gloucester s eyes the Dover cliffs bluffed suicide scene literally and not in a imaginative and figurative sense However again I now appreciate that this choice is in many ways fundamental to the author s very conception of this novel her realisation that concepts and events which render King Lear strange to a modern Western reader the extreme patriarchy the Hinterlands and Commodities use of Lear s fortune as what is effectively dowry the fundamental conflict of ambition family and state Untold Secrets of Planet Earth unchecked state violence and civil conflict extremes of classcaste the abuse of domestic servants can be Apocalyptic Cartography understood in a modern context when transplanted across the world Just as King Lear examines the violence that flowed from Lear s partriarchy and his forced and ill thought through division of his Kingdom between his two daughters so We That Are Young could be said to examine the effects of British colonialism and the long lasting impacts of the violence and division that flowed from PartitionOverall a vibrant and wonderful novelMy thanks to Galley Beggar Press for the ARC

Characters Þ PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB ☆ Preti Taneja

Scion of the Devraj family returns to his childhood home after a long absence – only to witness the unexpected resignation of the ageing patriarch from the vast corporation he founded the Devraj Company On the same day Sita Devraj’s youngest daughter absconds – refusing to submit to the marriage her father wants for her Meanwhile Radha and Gargi Sita’s older sisters must deal with the fallout And so begins a brutal deathly struggle for power ranging over the luxury hotels and spas of New Delhi and Amritsar the Palaces and slums of. NOW RE READ AFTER ITS INCLUSION ON THE REPUBLIC OF CONSCIOUSNESS PRIZE LONG LISTWe That Are Young is published by Galley Beggar Press Perhaps best known as the publisher that took the risk on A Girl Is a Half formed Thing after everyone else had rejected it it went on to win the Women s Prize for Fiction Galley Beggar Press is also the publisher of the wonderful Forbidden Line that I read earlier this year and which remains one of the most unusual books I have read in 2017My thanks to Galley Beggar Press for an ARC of Preti Taneja s re working of King Lear Taneja takes the story and transposes it to India This works really well it is the ideal setting King Lear ends with a speech that gives Taneja her title The weight of this sad time we must obey Speak what we feel not what we ought to say The oldest hath borne most we that are young Shall never see so much nor live so longAnd as the book points out India is a young nation of young people We live in a young country Jivan Five years ago you couldn t even get Coca Cola in a can here The kids who are making money now like all the upper level staff we employ the girls and the boys who didn t grow up travelling abroad they just want to make money be cool They know what stuff they want the great thing is they don t know why No context My God they are the ideal customer They didn t have access to anything and now look everything All at once Now now nowAnd Gargi he says you told me the night Bapuji left the Farm that this is our time Don t we have the the youngest population the fastest growing democracy in the world So the king becomes a majorly successful Indian business man and the rest of the characters fall into place in that environmentIt can be difficult to take a well known story that is hundreds of years old and create something fresh out of it If you make it too obvious what you are doing your readers spend the whole story comparing events and characters with the original If you are too subtle about it no one knows what you have done Somehow Taneja manages to strike the balance Yes this is a re telling of King Lear transposed to modern day India but it is also a complex story in its own right that pulls you through it Although I read King Lear prior to reading this I didn t find myself continually drawing comparisons I was happy to let Taneja s story develop into its own revealing portrait of Indian culture If you want it is relatively easy to make the link between characters in Shakespeare and characters in Taneja s book but I didn t feel that was important except maybe as an intellectual exercise at the end of the bookThe fact is this is a superbly told story in its own right My experience with the book was that it got better with each section as the intensity and emotion gradually ramped up to the tragic climax The fact that I knew from the original the basics of what that climax would be didn t stop me from devouring the pagesAnd in fact the structure does actually help you get a better appreciation of the original It is split into sections with each one named after and focusing on one of the key characters This means Taneja can take the opportunity to both circle back on some events and look at them again from a different perspective but also to give us fresh insight into the motivation of these characters If I were to re read King Lear I would do that with a fresh perspective on the key playersAnd then finally I picked up a great uote to use when someone isn t uite all there Yep there s definitely a samosa missing from the high tea selectionIt s long but it is a really excellent read and I hope it receives some recognition through the various literary prizes out there