Thursday, August 25, 2005

Overripe Prose

A full-color peacock on the cover should have warned me as should have the pretentious title of The Last Song Of Dusk

This is not a book that I could read sequentially page 1 to page 295. The lushly overripe prose makes that quite impossible. I went through the first few pages, turned over read what the critics had to say. When David Davidar compares Salman Rushdie and Hari Kunzru I have to ask myself "What was he smoking, when he said that ?"

Now Siddhart Dhanvant Shanghvi enters the same league - a league which has nothing in common to my mind. Most of the other praise comes from abroad which I am quick to dismiss. Snakes charmers and the Indian rope trick never fail to work their magic on the occident. Too bad, that we have not done more to credit ourselves than that.

I return to the book, skim through several pages - lingering long enough to absorb the plot. As a reviewer at Amazon suggests, Shanghvi's voice is completely borrowed. I remember too many other writers as I read him. I drop the book midway, knowing that reading any further will only mean more time wasted. I have not even made a passing acquaintance with Siddhart Shanghvi.

To his credit, his mug-shot on the jacket is very nice. Like one reviewer said of Arundhati Roy upon her debut "The diamond stud on her pretty nose dazzles more that her prose" I would say Shanghavi is more eye candy than author. Bollywood surely beckons.

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