reviews and interviews


Interview in The Kenyon Review

Review in The Washington Times

Review in Booklist Online

Review in Publishers Weekly

Review in The Common

Review in Foreword Reviews


Memories of Rain

'Memories of Rain is an extraordinary first novel. Although there is a great deal of Sturm und Drang in it - whether from the monsoon, the lovers' own feelings or the heroine's favourite poet, so that the whole tempestuous epic leaves one feeling quite wrung out by such intensity - it is an intoxicatingly brilliant piece of work.' THE TIMES

'Memories of Rain is the exquisite first novel from the uniquely gifted young writer, Sunetra Gupta. This writer's prose is, quite simply, ravishing. Each page is a breathtaking stream of luminously sensuous images which immerse the reader in the exhilerating beauty of Gupta's prose.' THE OXFORD TIMES

'The writing in Memories of Rain is complex, fusing poetic imagery with yearning, passionate streams of consciousness. Observation, comment and vision are all finely and uniquely set forth.' THE WASHINGTON TIMES

'The interior monologue that powers her books is delivered with stunning grace and will surely lay the first-time novelist open to comparison with Virginia Woolf.' THE BOSTON GLOBE

'Gupta's poetic and figurative language, springing abundantly from free association and allied to the continuous time-shifts, is reminiscent of Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse.' THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

'Not since Anita Desai has an Indian woman written like this, or written so well....But Gupta's debut also breaks new ground: hers is a feeling contribution to the literature of displacement, an elegiac rendering of the cultural loss that emigration entails.' THE WASHINGTON POST

The Glassblower's Breath

'..has something of the quality of myth; ...The Glassblower's Breath reveals Gupta's true storytelling talents.' TLS

'The Glassblower's Breath builds with a creepy, loving hum to a startling, tragic crescendo. As voyeurs, we know there is no acceptable resolution to the madness, just inevitable doom. We expect it, yet are taken aback nonetheless. Gupta hypnotizes us toward the climax of the novel with luminous precision, and we joyously succumb to her masterful dreamscape.' THE BOSTON GLOBE

'Hailed as Virginia Woolf's literary heir, Sunetra Gupta also bids for the mantle of T. S. Eliot. Her narrator, like Tiresias, floats freely through every character's mind and makes few compromises for reader-comfort. Competing lovers flutter around her incandescence while she attempts to exorcise her sister's death. Despite the melodramatic ending, this novel-as-poetry will make the next book you pick up seem prosaic by contrast.' THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

Moonlight Into Marzipan

'This, then, is her true skill: to generate a profusion of ideas and images in such delicate layers that they begin to tell a tale all their own. Binding this is her sparkling wit and a dark proficiency to rework ancient wisdom.' INDIA TODAY

'Amid the rickety bricolage of his Calcutta garage-turned-laboratory, a dreamy young scientist, Promotesh, discovers how to create life out of inanimate matter, making chlorophyll from his wife's copper ear stud. This feat is described as 'turning gold into grass', or 'moonlight into marzipan'. Hence the poetic title of Sunetra Gupta's characteristically lyrical third novel. In her work, even the quotidian - a servant cooking scones for a child, say - is imbued with a melancholic mysticism.' TLS

'Sunetra Gupta ... has already written two novels, besides being a highly respected medical don at Oxford. Memories of Rain and The Glassblower's Breath are brilliant achievements, jewelled with colour, and yet having an easy informality which presents a humorously robust and not at all precious personality ... Yet there is nothing lighthearted in her themes, least of all in that of her third novel. Moonlight into Marzipan is about the ramshackle manner in which discoveries of dazzling and onimous significance may be made in science today ...' THE TIMES

A Sin of Colour

'This outstanding novel, therefore, is both an elegy for Bengali culture and for the genre of romance itself; a poetic study of decay and dislocation, it is also woven around those fables that can never be destroyed because they are never wholly real.' THE SPECTATOR

'The reader will relish Gupta's unconventionally long and elegant sentences; her prose rolls off the tongue and forms haunting pictures that linger.' PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

'Like an accomplished fabulist, Gupta tells a story that in its deft symmetry and evocation of transcendent emotion resembles more a modern fairy tale than a grimy reprise of adultery.... One of those rare love stories that resonates with passion and intelligence.' KIRKUS REVIEWS


Interview by Kim Nagy in Wild River Review

In Conversation with Amit Shankar Saha

Interview by Chitra Padmanabhan