And yet it is less than a hundred years since her smart sarcastic, principled grandparents met on a non-violent demonstration against British rule in Ahmedabad, falling in love as they were trampled by mounted police. Their only son Paresh, grows up to drift through life, torn in different directions all at once, though he does produce an entirely spirited, directed daughter Para. How did India get Para from her grandparents? And what happened to the generation in between, of Paresh and his peers? Moving between crowd scenes and midair battles, between sexual farce and social embarrassment, Joshi maps the arcs made by these four striking characters, by the family they make up, and by their country, across a complex and confused century. Joshi's writing is sharp, loose, fluent and varied. The Last Jet-Engine Laugh is a novel that is jaded and yet principled, ribald and yet serious, vigorous yet sensitive. It feels authentic, considered and moving at all times. It marks the arrival of a writer whose prose is fresh, as surprising and as distinctly original as any to come out of India in the last two decades.
Ruchir Joshi is a Kolkata-based film-maker and writer. He is the author of The Last Jet- Engine Laugh and the editor of Electric Feather, a compilation of contemporary Indian erotica.