Author: Neel Kamal Puri
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0144000695
It was not an easy world to live in, particularly if you belonged.
Patiala in the early 1980s. A town caught in a time warp, yoked to its princely past even as it grapples with the looming spectre of terrorism which plays havoc with Punjab through that decade. As terror and suspicion lurk everywhere, the protagonists—siblings Monty and Minnie, and Michael and Karuna—play out their respective destinies, evolving their own strategies to cope with the tumult of the times. While Michael briefly seeks nirvana in his motorbike before deciding he has had enough and Monty withdraws into silence, it is the women—demure Karuna, shocking her family with its first scandal, and wilful Minnie, determined not to be a ‘nice girl’—who display the resilience to overcome the inertia spawned by fear and generations of conditioning.
In this fascinating first novel, Neel Kamal Puri crafts a heartbreaking tale of people for whom life is often a dead end. Brimming with an array of memorable cameos, The Patiala Quartet is a loving and often hilarious look at growing-up: the pain, the heartaches, the choices we make, and how they make for the difference between survival and death, between holding on and letting go.
The Patiala Quartet by Neel Kamal Puri [Neel Kamal Puri] handles her theme with the deftness of a born story-teller. . . The Patiala Quartet will rank among the best works of English fiction written by a Punjabi’ —Khushwant Singh