25-Apr-2006

Review - The alchemy of Desire

Let me start on a defensive note. I borrowed this book mistaking Tarun Tejpal for Aniruddha Bahal. I had enjoyed Bahal's Bunker 13 and decided this had to be good. By the time I realised my error, I had started to read the book and the book seemed reasonably promising. Sadly I had not read the many reviews that had apparently trashed this book.
The book’s front flap indicates that the book is about the lives of young Indian couples in today's day and age. I think most readers would differ. Especially when they come to the historical bits. But wait, I am running ahead. The story starts off with the protagonist and his wife breaking up inspite of the great sexual chemistry they have. The book traces the lives of the two for a while. Then comes the twist in the tale and the couple breaks up and the book goes downhill from thereon. The first half is so realistic that you are waiting for a really strong reason for the break up. Which does not happen. The silly story ladled out makes you wonder if Tejpal overdosed on Hollywood movies about enchanting India and Maharajahs and slaves and princesses before writing the second half. You stop caring about the couple and by the time the time you reach the end of the book, you begin to skim and indifferently finish the book.
Note to myself: Aniruddha Bahal is not Tarun Tejpal. Remember.

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