G. V. Desani


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Indian writer, born in Nairobi, Kenya; he lived in Britain during the Second World War, where he became a regular lecturer and broadcaster. His prose poem Hali (1950) was published with a preface by E. M. Forster, but he is best known for his eccentric and inventive novel, All about H. Hatterr (1948), in which Hatterr, son of a European merchant seaman and ‘an Oriental, a Malay Peninsula‐resident lady, a steady non‐voyaging non‐Christian human’, seeks wisdom from the seven sages of India. This was revised and republished in 1972 with an introduction by A. Burgess. His hybrid and ‘dazzling, puzzling, leaping prose’ has been described by Rushdie (Indian Writing, 1947–1977, pub. 1997) as ‘the first genuine effort to go beyond the Englishness of the English language’. A collected volume of stories was published in 1990. See also Anglo‐Indian Literature.

Subjects: Literature.

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