Annapurna Potluri The Grammarian: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9781619022799

The Grammarian: A Novel

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9781619022799: The Grammarian: A Novel
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In the fall of 1911, Alexandre Lautens, an ambitious French philologist, sweeps into a remote part of India to study the Telugu language. Hosted by a local wealthy landowner and his family, Lautens arrives at a moment of change for the Adivis: Mohini, the younger and strikingly beautiful daughter is about to marry, an act which will inevitably condem her older sister, who suffers from being plain and disfigured, to spinsterhood.

Intellectually curious by nature, the elder sister Anjali is beguiled by Lautens, and as they find an intimacy within language, an unexpected relationship develops. After Anjali confesses that her disfigurement – a lasting injury from polio – has kept her from swimming since her childhood, Lautens surprises her with a trip to the beach. Regardless of what might have happened between them, Adivi is outraged when he hears word of their outing. Thinking his daughter a tramp and Lautens a predator, both are swiftly kicked out, left to fend for themselves—separately—as they try to navigate what really happened.

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About the Author:

Annapurna Potluri was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and moved to New York to attend New York University where she studied comparative literature and linguistics. She then earned an MPhil in theoretical linguistics from Cambridge University. She has lived in Italy and India and is currently working at the South Asia Institute at Columbia University.

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Excerpt from The Grammarian

Anjali ran her fingertips along the smooth edges of the tissue paper inside, and lifted up the scent of sandalwood into the air; Matthieu propped his elbows on his knees, his eyebrows high on his forehead like a youngster in anticipation. She thought for a moment of all the boxes that in her young mind she had hoped for from Dr. Lautens after he left India: boxes of the chocolates he had described, postcards, handmade French lace, love letters. She lifted up, out of familiar fuchsia crepe paper, her grandmother’s pearl necklace with the ruby pendant, the earrings with the ruby flower and the pearl flourish. And now she felt the full sorrow of missing on Earth those whom she loved most in this world.

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