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.

9 comments:

Ali said...

I love vulgarity :D

In fact, i do think that I'm going to read some of Mr. Singh and attempt to write poetry that shall ellicit specific physiological reactions from women *evil, maniacal laughter*

Xeb said...

Err, okay then! :P

Jenneth said...

Read "City of Djinns" by William Dalrymple... also about Delhi past and present, amazing travel writing minus the crudeness ;)

Ammara said...

khushwant researched it very thoroughly....
bt its crude nd unputdownable but leaves u asking for more...no?

Xeb said...

Jen: I must confess, it may not be all that fun without the crudeness! :P Try giving Khuswant Singh a read. It's quite the experience! :P

A: It definitely leaves you asking for more. I must admit, I'm quite hooked!

Huma Imtiaz said...

I love Khushwant Singh. Did I tell you I met him a couple of years ago? :D

Xeb said...

Ooh did you? I must admit I'm incredibly curious! What's he like in person?

Anj said...

I totally relate to KSingh's writing making me uncomfortable. He's at his best when he talks about Delhi though, na?

Xeb said...

Na? I blame it on cultural inhibitions and do my best to get over them, but I must confess certain pages totally make me blush :P But he's fabulous when he talks about Delhi. He makes the city come alive. Makes me long to go and see it! :) Maybe this India trip I'll figure out a way to make it to Delhi!