Tarun J. Tejpal The Alchemy of Desire

ISBN 13: 9780060888565

The Alchemy of Desire

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9780060888565: The Alchemy of Desire

Set against the brilliantly drawn backdrop of India at the turn of the millennium, The Alchemy of Desire tells the story of a young couple, penniless but gloriously in love. Obsessed with each other, they move from a small town to the big city, where the man, who dreams of being a writer, works feverishly on a novel, stopping only to feed his ceaseless desire for his beautiful wife.

A chance occurrence allows the lovers to abandon the city for a mist-shrouded spur of the lower Himalayas and move into a sprawling old house, which they hope will embody their love. At first they pursue their deep physical need with a reckless intensity. But during renovations of the house, a set of diaries written by the original inhabitant—a glamorous American adventuress—is unearthed, and the narrator finds himself irresistibly drawn away from his wife and thrust into another world and time, into the hole of history. As his life and love fall apart, he slowly begins to uncover the dark secrets at the heart of her story, until the shocking truth is laid bare and all certainties are overturned.

Inventive, playful, heartbreaking, brimming with ideas and memorable characters, The Alchemy of Desire celebrates the chaotic spirit of a country during a time of great change. It also offers, in searing, lucid prose, a deeply sensual and moving meditation on the nature of desire, history, truth, and art. This is a major novel by one of the most significant new voices of his generation.

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About the Author:

Tarun J TeJpal is the editor of the Indian national weekly Tehelka. In 2001 BusinessWeek named him among the fifty leaders at the forefront of change in Asia. He lives with his family in New Delhi.

From Publishers Weekly:

Sexual attraction between a nameless narrator and his wife, Fizz, provides the through line of this sweeping epic by journalist and editor Tejpal. The young, poor couple travel from a quiet town to New Delhi, then to a remote corner of the Himalayas, in pursuit of art and sex. The oft-distracted narrator is trying, with minimal success, to write the Great Indian Novel, and his search for inspiration (other than that offered by the luscious Fizz) is the impetus for decamping to the city and the Himalayas. Little actually happens in these places, however; the narrator's obsession with writing and sex rivals that of Henry Miller's, and Fizz, the muse and sexual dynamo, is a contemporary Mona (though less of a nag). Once set up in the mountain cabin, the narrator finds a long-abandoned stack of diaries and becomes absorbed by them, so much so that their content, about a Chicago woman's journey to India, takes over the book. The opening several hundred pages, though sprinkled liberally with titillating passages, feel like an endurance test. Heavy with ambition, Tejpal's debut will please readers looking for an Indian Rosy Crucifixion. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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