Halfway through Noon, the sophomore novel by Aatish Taseer, I was almost tempted to call it a post-modern joke. Many questions were unanswered: is this the fiction equivalent of a mockumentary where the writer’s memoir masquerades as fiction? Is this novel a parlour game for the Indian and Pakistani gentry, who are supposed to read between the lines and guess who’s who in reality? Will Aatish Taseer continue to mine his own past to write fiction?
I could have ignored these obvious similarities with Taseer’s personal life if Noon had been fiendishly compelling, which it mostly isn’t. Instead of exploring themes in some depth, the novel provides fleeting glimpses into various stages of young Rehan’s life. Right from his childhood in Delhi where an adoring grandmother takes care of him to a stint at his stepfather’s farmhouse to a visit to Sahil’s place in Pakistan, Taseer’s sharp gaze never overstays its welcome. Noon could be called a daring piece of fiction in as much as the writer chooses to leave many loose ends.
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