August 31, 2010
I've been reading 'Delhi: A Novel' for two days now, and despite limited time on my hands, I'm finding it difficult to put the book down. Khushwant Singh simultaneously appalls and delights me. He appalls because my South Asian heritage will not let me be recipient of so much unashamed crudeness without suspecting that this is just wrong, somehow. That said, I find that - despite myself (and my culturally subscribed inhibitions) - I look forward to the worlds opening up to me with every new chapter. I love how seamlessly Singh moves from the Delhi of today, and the protagonist's hijra mistress Bhagmati, to the life and times of ancient kings. He speaks of saints and sinners in the same sentence and makes you empathize with both. Truth is, the man has a genius for words. No matter what he talks about, Timur lang's ransack and massacre of Delhi city, or our hero's carnal experiments with a sixteen-year-old American tourist, Singh makes you feel like he's sharing a delicious secret with you - and only you. I'm halfway through the book, and I'd give it a huge grin, and a thumbs up. If you're not easily deterred by vulgarity, and if you're looking for something good to read, I'd wholeheartedly recommend the book.