Author Ashvin Desai loses war with cancer

October 10th, 2008 - 8:11 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 10 (IANS) Author Ashvin Desai, who published his debut novel “Between Eternities: Ideas on Life and Cosmos” last year at the age of 75 after being diagnosed with cancer, has lost his battle with the disease. Desai, who passed away Thursday, was cremated Friday at a private ceremony attended by friends and family in the capital, where he lived.

Desai was the father of Booker prize-winning novelist Kiran Desai and the husband of veteran writer Anita Desai. Both were not present at his funeral.

He had been ailing for the last few months and his condition deteriorated before his death Thursday.

For Desai, his first novel, a non-fiction about the cosmic riddles that have been puzzling humans for centuries, was a way of overcoming the trauma of the disease that had been silently gnawing at him.

His terminal illness was detected barely three months before his book was launched by Penguin India last year.

The author had just signed a contract with Penguin for his second book, “A Tale of Two Truths”, a novel that was a departure from his first book. He was also working on his third book.

“’The Tale of two Truths’ is a story about the life and mind within the framework of fiction,” Ravi Singh, publisher, Penguin Books India, told IANS.

Singh, who knew Desai personally, said he had been interacting very closely with him for the last one-and-half-years.

“He was a man of great scholarship, very lively and was full of zest for life.” Singh spoke to him three weeks ago. “Desai apparently sounded very normal and cheerful.”

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