Sixteen-year-old Anamika Sharma is a leader among her peers. At school she is an ace at quantum physics. At home she sneaks off to her parents' scooter garage to read the Kama-sutra. Before long she has seduced an elegant older divorcée and the family servant, and has caught the eye of a classmate coveted by all the boys.
As caste hostilities ravage the nation, Anamika confronts questions that would test someone twice her age. Can an intellectual devote herself to a life of pure sensation? How does someone choose between the dictates of her high birth and the aspirations of her heart? And what does a genuinely good girl do when her adventures cause jealously and heartache for the people she loves? Ebullient, unfettered, and introducing one of the most charming heroines in contemporary fiction, Babyji is irresistible.
“Captivating. . . . Steamy. . . . A sweet and exciting gust of fresh air. . . . It’s her rich language, simple yet heady descriptions and priceless characters that linger long after you’ve turned the last page. If you’ve ever experienced Delhi, the book will conjure strong memories; if you haven’t, it’ll create them for you. Ditto for adventurous adolescence and raw, young desire.” —Time Out New York
“Arresting. . . . The unveiling of a vibrant young woman is wonderfully familiar. . . . Dawesar’s Anamika completely inhabits the contradictions of adolescence. . . . A fun, fresh novel.” —The Boston Phoenix
“Fervid scenes of sexual discovery and the fevered vagaries of Anamika’s adolescent mind shimmer in unabashed detail.” —The Washington Post
“Achieves an impressive balance between moral inquiry and decadent pleasure, pleasing the intellect and the senses.” —Publishers Weekly
“Dawesar does an excellent job of capturing Anamika's rapid swings from puffed-up maturity to deflated adolescence and back again.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Seduction is the name of the game in this book that has already elicited comparisons to Lolita, Nabokov's infamous book about a teenage temptress. Babyji is the affectionate but respectful nickname used for Anamika Sharma, a precocious sixteen-year-old girl living in Delhi, India. Both physically confused and intellectually curious about sex, Babyji decides to learn by doing. Unlike Lolita, however, Babyji has an eye for the ladies—and doesn't stop at just one. Dawesar's slightly detached first-person narration provides a fascinating glimpse at India's complex caste system as the upper-class Babyji navigates it, conquest by conquest.” —Erin Hagedorn
“I loved Babyji. It's a cunning lithe defiant sexy tiger’s roar of a book.” —Ali Smith, author of Hotel World
“From the moment Abha Dawesar dropped me slap-bang into the middle of Anamika’s complicated life, I found myself fascinated. How often does one encounter a sixteen-year-old who applies her preternatural intellect not only to her far-ranging sexual conquests but to quantum physics and India’s complex caste politics? Irreverent yet tender, compassionate yet hard-headed, precociously wise and undeniably sexy, Dawesar’s Anamika channels a wonderful new Indian reality. More power to her.” —Meera Nair, author of Video
“If Lolita had grown up in India, she might have debuted in a novel like this. Babyji is riveting, a great gift to read.” —Vendela Vida, author of And Now You Can Go
WINNER 2006 - New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age
WINNER 2005 - Lambda Literary Award
Abha Dawesar was born in 1974 in New Delhi, India, and graduated with honors from Harvard University. She was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts fiction fellowship and is the author of the novel Miniplanner, which was a #1 bestseller in India (under the title The Three of Us; Penguin India) and was hailed as a "coming-of-age of Indian diaspora writers." In May 2003 Dawesar was named Cosmopolitan India's Fun Fearless Female of the Month. She lives in New York.