Thursday, 20 September 2012 20:37

The Romantics by Pankaj Mishra Featured

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

The Romantics
Pankaj Mishra
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Anchor (February 20, 2001)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385720807
ISBN-13: 978-0385720809

Touted prior to its release a few years back as the Next Big Thing in South Asian literature, Mishra’s “The Romantics” fails to live up to its promise.

Told through the eyes of Samar, an undergraduate at the Benares Hindu University at the end of the 1980’s, “The Romantics” takes a look at the reality that is India and the romantic preconceived notions of it that Samar sees in his foreign artisan friends, in particular the beautiful French girl Catherine who, unfortunately for him, is already involved with a local musician.

Samar is faced with a variety of predictable conflicts: the conflicts of Eastern and Western culture, of his Brahmin upbringing and his attraction to ‘non-Brahmin’ vices, of his desire for Catherine and his loyalty to his friends, as well as the everyday conflicts and class struggles of Benares.

Bland prose, a sanctimonious and emotionless tone and an overall lack of substance make this a boring and not particularly memorable read. Mishra’s explorations of a post-colonial, post-Emergency, pre-nuclear India are disappointing and too self-absorbed to be realistic.


This review is by Sharanya Manivannan

Read 507 times Last modified on Sunday, 14 November 2021 19:24

Comments powered by CComment

Latest Posts

  • The Creative Industry Needs to Look at Things Differently Post Budget 2022
    On 29 October 2021, the Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz tabled Budget 2022 in the Malaysian parliament. RM50 million has been allocated for the arts and culture industry. This comes after a year and a half after the entire industry came to an absolute standstill. With…
  • ‘The Covid Positives’ – life lessons learnt from the pandemic by Phanindra Ivatury
    After a long drawn battle with the biggest catastrophe in our living memory, global humanity is finally getting to see some quintessential ray of light at the end of the treacherous tunnel in the form of COVID-19 vaccines, currently being rolled out to all parts of the globe. A ‘COVID-19…
  • Chaos of Whole Books
    Is it possible to read several books at once? Aneeta Sundararaj finds out. When I was a child, my cousin used to boast that he could read four storybooks at a time. As an adult, when he invested in an e-Reader, he continued to boast that he could…
  • Writing for You? Or for Me?
    Writing for You? Or for Me? ‘You must always write with your reader in mind.’ This was one of the first pieces of advice that I received when I began my writing career. Honestly, I found this extremely hard to do because more often than not, I couldn’t picture my…
  • One Book That Changed My Writing Life
    My latest novel, The Age of Smiling Secrets was shortlisted for two categories in the Book Award 2020 organised by the National Library of Malaysia. When I reflected on the journey that this book has taken, I acknowledged the enormous influence of one of my all-time favourite books, Joseph Anton:…