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About Amit Varma

Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. These days, he makes his living playing poker as he works on his second novel.




My Friend Sancho

My first book, My Friend Sancho, was published in May 2009, and went on to become the biggest selling debut novel released that year in India. It is a contemporary love story set in Mumbai, and had earlier been longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize 2008. To learn more about the book, click here.


If you're interested, do join the Facebook group for My Friend Sancho


Click here for more about my publisher, Hachette India.


My posts on India Uncut about My Friend Sancho can be found here.


Bastiat Prize 2007 Winner

Recent entries

Turn it into a Bluff

This is the 31st installment of my fortnightly poker column in the Economic Times, Range Rover. I played an interesting…

The Evil of Family Planning

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The Bird and the Elephant

This is the 30th installment of my fortnightly poker column in the Economic Times, Range Rover. One of the most…

The Cigarette Case

This is the 29th installment of my fortnightly poker column in the Economic Times, Range Rover. One of my favourite…

It’s Only Words

This is the 10th installment of Lighthouse, my monthly column for BLink, a supplement of the Hindu Business Line. A…

17 December, 2008

Escape With Manjula Padmanabhan

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Manjula Padmanabhan does a reading of her novel, Escape, tomorrow at Crossword, and I will be in conversation with her at the event. She will read out a part of the book, after which we shall chat about the novel and her writing, followed by audience questions. If you are a fan of her work—and there is much to like—drop in tomorrow. The details:

Where: Crossword, Kemps Corner, Mumbai
When: 7pm, Thursday, December 18, 2008

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Even if you can’t make it to the event, I recommend you pick up the book. It is set in a country of the future where all women have long been exterminated. The story stars a young girl named Meiji, who has been brought up in secret by three uncles, who run an enormous risk if they are discovered by the ruling generals. As Meiji approaches puberty, they keep her from adulthood by artificial means—but then realize that this is unfair to her, and she should be allowed to grow. Equally, her presence there is dangerous to both her and them. So they decide to let her blossom into a woman, and to send her away from this country, presumably to a place where women are natural. She is accompanied by her youngest uncle.

At one level, this is an adventure story of the journey these two make. At another, it is a coming-of-age story, as a young girl grows into adulthood without having the slightest clue of what it’s like to be to be a woman, both physically and emotionally. At the level I most enjoyed it, though, it is a love story, as her uncle, who hasn’t seen a woman for many years, tries to balance his desire for Meiji with his concern for her welfare.

I won’t give away any more—but be warned that if you start this book close to bedtime, you will be groggy in the morning, for it’s extremely hard to put down.

Also read: Jai Arjun Singh’s review of Escape, and his interview with Manjula;  and Nilanjana S Roy’s article placing Escape in a literary historical perspective. There are many more useful links on Manjula’s blog.

Posted by Amit Varma in Arts and entertainment | Personal

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