Conceived as a short story like Ulysses and penned as one, unlike Ulysses, and having the same gestation period—8 years—as Ulysses, Clouds is Chandrahas Choudhury’s second novel. The parallel may even extend a little further. Writing in the second decade of the twenty-first century and writing in English in India, Choudhury may be said to have faced the same problem that James Joyce did, crafting his modernist fiction almost a hundred years ago. The problem is this: how to fashion a prosaic world into an aesthetic form that can nevertheless double as an alluring commodity—in a word, fiction. Yes, fiction is pre-eminently the capitalistic form—perhaps I can use the word unabashedly, seeing that it is not a taboo word anymore either in criticism or in literature, as the novel under review demonstrates—because it exists to meld into unity the warring desires for beauty and utility, for love and money. Not all fiction foreground this as stylishly as Clouds does.
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