Saturday, September 3, 2011

More of the old whine

Noon Aatish Taseer
4th Estate
Rs 499; pp 240 
The title of Aatish Taseer’s latest novel, Noon, does not say as much as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas or The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Essentially a story of Rehan Tabassum, a London-born love child of a Pakistani businessman and an Indian lawyer, one may have to leapfrog the chapters, venture deep into the narrative and read — and re-read — between the lines to put Noon in perspective.

But that, too, is not devoid of obstructions. For example, how do you drown in a storyline that isn’t even deep enough to float? Or, how much novelty can you expect in book after book with similar storylines and characters?

Like Aatish and Aakash of Taseer’s earlier novel, The Temple-Goers, Rehan is a typical 21st century babalog, simultaneously trying to fit into and fall out of his social standing in an India he knows little about. We see many shades of Rehan in the four sections that are spread over a little over two decades (1989-2011). In the first, ‘The Last Rites’, Rehan the fatherless child becomes the reason for the constant pettifogging between his mother and granny.

Full review here Hindustan Times

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