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BW Businessworld

Different Strokes

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Faking It (Hachette) is Amrita Verma Chowdhury's first book. It focuses on the life of the 30-something Tara Malhotra, who is a wife, a mother and a successful financial expert in Washington. But her luck turns. Her husband Raj gets an opportunity to start a new India Fund, and the couple return to their land of birth.

In India, Tara meets her childhood friend Rimli, a sculptor; makes friends with Gul, a woman with an exquisite collection of contemporary Indian art; and gets acquainted with the very suave and attractive art dealer, Roy Jordon. She decides to start an art gallery with Gul; while the handsome Roy befriends her and starts showering the emotionally vulnerable woman with his not-unwelcome attentions. While Tara still prefers her husband to Roy, she certainly wants a newly unearthed Amrita Sher-Gil painting that Roy has sourced. Motivated by a desire to outshine her friends and to spite her husband, she spends a fortune to acquire the painting. But the Indian art scene, with its frauds and forgeries, is no place for the ignorant or the naïve as Tara soon finds to her great cost.

Chowdhury writes well — her similes are creative, her vocabulary impressive, and her knowledge of the art scene in India is spot-on. But a book cannot ride solely on nicely constructed sentences; it rides upon its content. The kernel of the book is about the size of a tweet on Twitter. However, it is always heartening to see new Indian authors writing in English.

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(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 10-08-2009)