Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Romantics

Romantics by pankaj mishra talks about the coming of age of samar.Samar a graduate student moves to benares.There he meets two foreigners women, west and catherine.The novel slowly develops characterizing these three and one of samar's college friend rajesh. All these characters including samar are romantics who have a longing. Samar who later moves on to pondicherry and dharmashala comes back to give after 7 years to give us an update on what happened to all these romantics.

This book has a few good things like the realistic way in which mishra deals with the characters and backdrop.The characters are not sensationalized and the city of benares is not made exotic to appeal to the western audience. Rather than quoting many of the western authors that the character samar reads, pankaj quotes faiz ahmed faiz and Iqbal.He shows the distance between his view of benares and the westerners view of mystical and spiritual benares.

He has borrowed naipauls words here and there, when quoting his fathers retirement into pondicherry ashram he say it as the 'hindu retreat', a naipaul language.Other than that, his simple language, uninteresting characters and detailed description of day to day things makes it plain and boring.Iam guilty of being a reader who needs some plot,intresting character/backdrop or some central theme to find the book intresting.A romantic loosers coming of age is not my favourite theme, so I found the book dull, boring, simplistic and painfully descriptive at times.

If you want a book that doesn't confirm to the usual norms of plot based stories and are looking for minimalism,style and simplicity maybe u can try this one.

Pankaj mishra

Read the book 5 years ago on a long train journey to Benares.
(coincidence!!). Somewhere, I could connect to samar and his loneliness ... Pankaj M writes fairly well.I find his Indian english is quite appealing...totally shorn of pretentious americanisms that no writer can do without today. Butter Chicken in Ludhiana - a travelogue through small towns in India is again simple and endearing.A lot of people deride him and his writing. there are people who label him a 'commie bastard' because of the leftist streak in his works.(Pankaj M discovered the writer in Arundhati Roy afterall!!)
i found that lot of peoples liked it and lot of people didn't.guess u belong to the first part.I agree with you, his language is unpretensious for sure.

i didn't know that he was the one who found arundhati roy.intresting info.
havent read much of any indian authors except for RKL but planning to read Midnightchildren by Rusdie
Have you read that one, suppose to be very nice.
currently reading a scifi book called Mammoths by John Varley.
who is RKL??.Midnight children is a good one, it is one of the good surrealistic novels ever written, iam not sure whether u will like it though.
Sen, Ganesh was meaning R.K. Lakshman, I guess. Rushdie's new work is on hot discussion now. It is about a Kashmiri turns out to be a terrorist. Some people say that Rushdie forgets the fact that the cruel acts of army also make young kashmiris to be terrorists.
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