The Artist of Disappearance, By Anita Desai


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The Independent Culture

Set in modern India, Desai's three linked novellas deal with the notion of death and decay.

The opening story, "The Museum of Final Journeys", is narrated by a young bureaucrat who discovers a "preposterous collection" of oriental treasures left to rot in a remote rural spot.

In the waspish story, "Translator, Translated", an older woman blows her one chance of professional success; while the title story features a reclusive loner absorbed in a strange artistic endeavour. Desai's elegiac tales manage to be at once mysterious and matter- of-fact.