Anita Desai is one of India’s foremost writers. She has written numerous works of fiction, including Clear Light of Day (), In Custody (), and Fasting. Editions. Journey To Ithaca . Anita Desai · Paperback · Ebook. View more editions. Buy from Buy from – arrow icon. Hive · Waterstones. In trying to unravel the reasons for a young man’s search for spiritual realisation, this book combines the ambitions of a literary work with the.

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Desai’s exquisite, exotic 10th novel follows well-to-do European newlyweds who, inembark on a spiritual search in India. The husband, an Italian named Matteo, joins an ashram and becomes a fervent devotee of an aged, solitary guru known as “the Mother. After giving birth to a son and a daughter, both of whom she raises in the ashram, Anitz flees with her children to her in-laws’ Italian villa.

Vowing to unmask the Mother’s true identity, she then sets off to Alexandria. There, through flashbacks, we meet Laila, a free-spirited teenager, half-Egyptian, half-French, who moves to Paris, rebels against her bourgeois aunt yo joins an Indian dance troupe. Falling in love with Krishna, the troupe’s charismatic, aloof leader, Laila tours Jourey and s New York before moving with him to India, where she later renounces dance for enlightenment and transforms herself into the Mother.

The story closes with excerpts from Laila’s India diary and with Sophie’s confrontation with the wizened, aged Krishna, whom she tracks down in Bombay. Desai Baumgartner’s Bombay magically evokes the collision and melding of cultures and ideas as she maps the hazards and rewards of spiritual quest.

Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc. During a seriocomic search for Eastern enlightenment, European newlyweds Matteo and Sophie encounter a living saint, the Mother. Matteo becomes a disciple, but Sophie resists, even as their stay in the Mother’s wnita ashram stretches into years. As Matteo increasingly withdraws from a journney passionate marriage, Sophie vows to destroy her husband’s spiritual obsession.

To prove that the Mother is less than holy, Sophie explores the saint’s past, beginning with rumors about a colorful dancing career.

The quest leads Sophie along strange roads to even stranger characters in Egypt, France, Italy, and the United States. Back in India with assorted facts but few answers, she finds shocking news and a challenge waiting.

An ambiguous denouement reiterates the haunting questions about jourey and profane love that echo throughout the book. Fine fare for thoughtful readers with a taste for exotic settings.? Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? In her first novel since the widely praised Baumgartner’s Bombay, Anita Desai brilliantly evokes spiritual India in all its endless complexity, and examines the nature of pilgrimage through the aspirations and adventures of three superbly realized characters.

Matteo and Sophie join the s flight of young Ajita to India. Matteo — Italian, raised in the luscious countryside around Lake Como, restless since childhood — has been introduced by a tutor to Hermann Hesse’s The Journey to the East, and it opens in him a desperate longing. Sophie — German, practical, worldly — is willing to follow him to the ends of the earth. In India, together they visit swamis, gurus, ashrams — always searching.

Matteo is seeking spiritual enlightenment, but for Sophie fulfillment lies in earthly love. And when they meet a holy woman known as the Mother, the differences between them seem to explode. When we learn the Mother’s story, we see it as an earlier version of their own — the story of a young girl growing up in Cairo and finding her way East by joining a troupe of Indian dancers she has met in Europe.



Journey to Ithaca by Anita Desai

Her journey, a young woman’s daring progress through Paris and Venice and New York, until she finds her moment of transcendence in India, comments resai, and gives added breadth to, the young couple’s quest.

In telling what happens to Matteo and Sophie and the mother, Anita Desai gives us a novel of great richness, an extraordinary vision of a country, dewai a compassionate portrait of people struggling to find a spiritual home. Journey to Ithaca is her most powerful and most involving novel.

Read more Read less. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. From Publishers Weekly Desai’s exquisite, exotic 10th novel follows well-to-do European newlyweds who, inembark on a spiritual search in India.

Knopf; 1st American ed edition August 15, Language: I’d like to read this jojrney on Kindle Don’t have a Kindle? Share your thoughts with other customers.

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There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. It’s a bit of a drag. I feel obligated to finish it, but I’m skipping a lot. I don’t like any of the characters. I absolutely am in LOVE with this lady’s ti. Every time I think that things can’t get better and that one of these days one of her books will not be able to live up to the expectation that I associate with her name She just goes ahead and proves me wrong every single time!

They have travelled to India to seeking spiritual enlightenment. While Matteo chooses mourney believe in everything he discovers and is told by the Swamijis, Sophie takes a more logical approach to everything that is offered to her. She is more of a believer of love which is why she is willing to follow Matteo to every corner of the earth even though their beliefs and needs are so different at this point.

Journey To Ithaca: Anita Desai: : Books

India was the first place where she felt peace and perfection in life – something her dedai life in other countries did not have to offer her. On one hand the story gives us a look into the life of a couple who are bonded yet broken through their needs. On the other hand is a look into the lives of many foreigners who travelled to Indian Ashrams looking for spiritual enlightenment.

Anita Desai has yet again woven a beautiful story with the threads of human nature and their psyche bringing together ordinary characters with somewhat similar stories. Her prose is as beautiful as ever in this book. The unexpected, some would say unresolved, ending was a surprise.

For me the ending was what sealed the deal Sometimes it is just ahita that way – not knowing what really happens next and leave it up to the readers to make out an ending. Matteo and Caroline were both brought up in Italy. Caroline was sent to a aanita school in Milan and Matteo to a school in Turin which had been recommended by his uncle. However Matteo performed very poorly: Finally his parents decided to take him back home and they found a tutor, Fabian, for his education.

But he remained a rebellious student, learning nothing, eating nothing. Whenever his father talked to him about a career in banking or in the family silk business, Matteo would simply smile faintly. Finally in the summer ofhe married Sophie, the daughter of a German banker and together they left for India taking with them Matteo’s much beloved copy of Hermann Hesse’s “The Journey to the East”.


In Bombay they met Pierre Eduard who took them to an elderly woman who performed a few tricks as a form of worship to the glory of Shiva.

Whilst Sophie remained unimpressed with what ot called “party tricks”, Matteo on the other hand was quite transfixed by what he had seen. Later they met Mr Pandey, a “deus ex machina” as Sophie called him in her exasperation, who suggested that they go and live in an aniga. After that Matteo came up with the idea that they replicate the journey which a famous saint had undertaken on foot to a shrine where he obtained enlightenment.

But Sophie could not share Matteo’s enthusiasm about searching for “the mystery that is the heart of India” during the exhausting expedition and even after such a short time spent in the country, she had no doubt that it was a culture to which she would never belong.

Matteo on the other hand was literally seized by madness with his quest for the “devine light” despite the warnings that “the gods are destructive in this country”. Will Matteo’s studying with a swami at a distant ashram help him recover his ahita Will Matteo and Sophie go through this adventure together and recover their love? Mrs Desai shows hard and driven people in her novel, the mutual contempt of a wife and a husband, the rejection foreigners may experience in India and also a man deluding himself in an impossible quest.

Perhaps the author’s other novels like “Baumgartner’s Bombay” or “In Custody” are more accessible, less obscure. One person found this helpful. This is one of the worse books I have ever plodded through. I can’t believe I actually kourney it. It is full of rambling prose, and uninteresting characters, in a very boring, uneventful plot.

Why would anyone want to write such a book? What is the point? Matteo and Sophie aren’t very deep people, and the bit about the Mother was so uninteresting. It wasn’t even worthy of one star and is in such contrast to books by the same author, that have a soul.

Why would anyone want to write about this kind of indulgent, boring uninteresting people, even though I know their type exist? They aren’t worthy to be characters in any literature. Matteo and Sophie travel to India where he searches for spiritual enlightenment while she sulks in boredom and disdain. Desai does a remarkable job of capturing the spirit of the seeker, the hypocrisy of those who prey upon itjaca, the disappointment and destruction that seeking can bring, the relief of finding one’s true teacher, and the escstasy of meeting god.

A truly rich, beautiful, and compelling story that makes the reader loathe to put the book down. If Desai’s other novels are on par with this one and I intend to find outher books will be filling my shelves. I did not find this book interesting. I had to struggle to finish it. What distinguishes Anita Desai’s work is her vivid and beautiful description of nature.

The second half where Sophie goes on a journey to discover the roots of ‘Mataji’ does not connect well with the readers.

Journey to Ithaca

A lot of time the book was very boring and going nowhere in the name of spirituality. If you are expecting something like that then this novel will come as an disppointment. See all 8 reviews. There’s a problem loading this menu right now.