Teen Couple Have Fun Outdoors

Aravind Jayan / Fiction

Book cover

UK Publisher

Serpent's Tail

Date Published

July 7th, 2022

Translations

French (Actes Sudes)
German (Suhrkamp)
Italian (Guanda)
Swedish (Natur & Kultur)

It is a day of triumph for Appa and Amma, who have driven home a shiny new Honda Civic to show off to their neighbours in Blue Hills housing colony. But their eldest son Sreenath is behaving strangely, and his younger brother soon finds out why: a clip of Sreenath and his girlfriend Anita has been posted to a porn site, and is gaining traction.

When the news breaks, their parents’ anxiously acquired status is shattered, and the war between them becomes a viral story, emblematic of a wider generational fight. Our narrator must become a reluctant middleman, seduced by the freedoms his older brother and his friends point to, while desperate to restore the family unity.

Full of bittersweet comedy, and insight into contemporary Indian society and an online generation, this is a story about now with the feel of a classic.


Reviews

A sparkling debut, full of tenderness and mischief. It’s as if Roth and Narayan had a baby.

- Aatish Taseer, author of The Way Things Were

Smart, utterly original, and beautifully rendered -- in the age of the internet, still stories of family remain ageless. Jayan sets us in a moment when the past and present are in precarious balance and leaves us to settle for ourselves what has been broken and what will never be. Loved it.

- Karen Joy Fowler, Booker-shortlisted author of International bestseller We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

So here it is, at last: an insider view of the clash between generations seen from the perspective of the online Indian Gen Z. Written with wryness, compassion, intelligence, crystal-clarity, and a dry sense of humour, Aravind Jayan's unputdownable debut features one of the most engaging and Nabokovianly complicated narrators I've encountered in the last god knows how many years. It's impossible not to love this book. You'll laugh and laugh until you find yourself devastated by the last thirty or so pages, and you’ll still be laughing. Oh, did I also mention unputdownable?

- Neel Mukherjee, Booker-shortlisted author of The Lives of Others

One of the wittiest, cleverest, most perceptive books I've read about India in years. An acidic comedy of manners, an anarchic demolition of modern Indian mores, as well as a melancholic, sweet-sour love story about the impossibility of being young. I loved it.

- Rahul Raina, author of How To Kidnap The Rich

Laugh-out-loud funny – a beguiling debut by a writer of great charm

- Paul Murray, author of National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Skippy Dies

Humorous, insightful and enormously touching . . . an exquisite debut

- Clare Allan, author of The Orange Prize-shortlisted Poppy Shakespeare

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