HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Temporary People by Deepak Unnikrishnan
Loading...

Temporary People

by Deepak Unnikrishnan (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
917258,244 (3.05)9
"Guest workers of the United Arab Emirates embody multiple worlds and identities and long for home in a fantastical debut work of fiction, winner of the inaugural Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing.... The author's crisp, imaginative prose packs a punch, and his whimsical depiction of characters who oscillate between two lands on either side of the Arabian Sea unspools the kind of immigrant narratives that are rarely told. An enchanting, unparalleled anthem of displacement and repatriation." --Kirkus Reviews In the United Arab Emirates, foreign nationals constitute over 80 percent of the population. Brought in to construct the towering monuments to wealth that punctuate the skylines of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, this labor force works without the rights of citizenship, endures miserable living conditions, and is ultimately forced to leave the country. Until now, the humanitarian crisis of the so-called "guest workers" of the Gulf has barely been addressed in fiction. With his stunning, mind-altering debut novel Temporary People, Deepak Unnikrishnan delves into their histories, myths, struggles, and triumphs.  Combining the irrepressible linguistic invention of Salman Rushdie and the satirical vision of George Saunders, Unnikrishnan presents twenty-eight linked stories that careen from construction workers who shapeshift into luggage and escape a labor camp, to a woman who stitches back together the bodies of those who've fallen from buildings in progress, to a man who grows ideal workers designed to live twelve years and then perish--until they don't, and found a rebel community in the desert. With this polyphony, Unnikrishnan brilliantly maps a new, unruly global English. Giving substance and identity to the anonymous workers of the Gulf, he highlights the disturbing ways in which "progress" on a global scale is bound up with dehumanization. … (more)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 9 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
This is a very uneven set of short stories. Some I’d give five stars, some zero. The problem with magical realism is either it really really works or it really really doesn’t. I loved when Unnikrishnan used magical metaphors to convey the difficulty of being an immigrant worker in the UAE but felt that sometimes the metaphors got away from him.

And then there’s the weird sexual aspects. It seems like Unnikrishnan needs to shoehorn sex into almost every narrative. Maybe someone told him sex makes stories more interesting? While I agree sex is interesting, it often felt forced and unnecessary. Even when sex was an interesting part of the story he ended up taking it to a weird conclusion, like the clown story.

Maybe three of the stories I thought were amazing. Like truly wow. But the rest were kinda meh with some boo thrown in, all interspersed by some truly pretentious poetry.

Ultimately, as a pravasi (technically) I found some things that really resonated with me (“And by the time you’ve done the math in your head, everything you’ve missed, what’s been gained, you’ll come to realize what the word pravasi really means: absence. That’s what it means, absence.”) And I also learned a lot about the specific pains faced by pravasis in the UAE. It's a perspective I haven't seen a lot of so I appreciated getting to know their world a little better. ( )
  ElspethW | Feb 26, 2022 |
This book seems genuinely original, a hash of writing styles and formatting, which I am somewhat unqualified to comment on due to ignorance. The characters return, the motif of devouring, the irrelevance of practicality that is maligned by contemporary genre classification apparent in drastic shifts of scale. ( )
  et.carole | Jan 21, 2022 |
Alas, this was not my cuppa. It's not the book, it's me. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
Deepak Unnikrishnan's book is a collection of short stories set in United Arab Emirates, primarily among the guest workers who make up a majority of the population of the UAE, and have made their lives there, but who know they someday must leave. The stories are surreal and discombobulating and clever; I appreciated them more than I enjoyed them. Unnikrishnan is a talented writer, but often in these stories, the cleverness overrides the emotional depth.

In the opening story, workers fall from the skyscrapers they are building, landing injured in construction sites all over Abu Dhabi. A woman rides out every night on her bicycle and reassembles the workers, reattaching limbs and patching holes so that they can return to work in the morning. In Mushtibushi, children in a large apartment building believe that the elevator is a monster who needs appeasement, to explain a series of molestations. And in a few stories, the roaches take center stage, whether in a boy's desperate attempts to keep them at bay, or in the story of a roach outcast and how he becomes the leader of the roaches.

None of the stories are comfortable or fun, but despite the surrealism, they do paint a vivid picture of what life is like for guest workers and their families in the UAE. ( )
  RidgewayGirl | Aug 17, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

"Guest workers of the United Arab Emirates embody multiple worlds and identities and long for home in a fantastical debut work of fiction, winner of the inaugural Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing.... The author's crisp, imaginative prose packs a punch, and his whimsical depiction of characters who oscillate between two lands on either side of the Arabian Sea unspools the kind of immigrant narratives that are rarely told. An enchanting, unparalleled anthem of displacement and repatriation." --Kirkus Reviews In the United Arab Emirates, foreign nationals constitute over 80 percent of the population. Brought in to construct the towering monuments to wealth that punctuate the skylines of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, this labor force works without the rights of citizenship, endures miserable living conditions, and is ultimately forced to leave the country. Until now, the humanitarian crisis of the so-called "guest workers" of the Gulf has barely been addressed in fiction. With his stunning, mind-altering debut novel Temporary People, Deepak Unnikrishnan delves into their histories, myths, struggles, and triumphs.  Combining the irrepressible linguistic invention of Salman Rushdie and the satirical vision of George Saunders, Unnikrishnan presents twenty-eight linked stories that careen from construction workers who shapeshift into luggage and escape a labor camp, to a woman who stitches back together the bodies of those who've fallen from buildings in progress, to a man who grows ideal workers designed to live twelve years and then perish--until they don't, and found a rebel community in the desert. With this polyphony, Unnikrishnan brilliantly maps a new, unruly global English. Giving substance and identity to the anonymous workers of the Gulf, he highlights the disturbing ways in which "progress" on a global scale is bound up with dehumanization. 

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.05)
0.5
1
1.5
2 3
2.5 1
3 3
3.5
4 4
4.5
5

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 176,983,517 books! | Top bar: Always visible