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Other Literature: The Solitude of Emperors by David Davidar Rebekah Send a noteboard - 24/09/2009 09:33:39 PM
The Solitude of Emperors

Vijay lives in small-town India with his parents and is desperate to escape to the big city – Bombay. His chance comes after the family servant disappears in the night, presumably to join a sectarian group in the area. With the help of his father, Vijay writes an article about the increasing power of sectarian politicians, and posts it to many newspapers. One responds – a small publication called the Indian Secularist – and offers Vijay an interview. The owner of the magazine, Mr Sorbajee, asks him a series of unorthodox interview questions and somehow Vijay manages to get the job, where his eyes are opened to the damage caused to the nation by mixing religion and politics.

Later, Vijay is caught up in the violent riots that tear Bombay apart. Mr Sorbajee sends him to a quiet village in the mountains – the Nilgiris, famed for their beauty – to recuperate, but also to discover the truth behind unrest relating to a holy shrine called the Tower of God. Mr Sorbajee has also asked him to read a manuscript about three of India’s most influential men: Ashoka, Akbar and Ghandi. These men are described as Emperors, and Sorbajee’s premise is that India needs a new emperor to heal her today.

The main action of the story takes place while Vijay reads this manuscript: he meets the bigwigs of the village who are obsessed with growing fuchsias, the man responsible for the unrest around the shrine, and Noah, a mysterious character who lives in the graveyard. As Vijay seeks to understand the reasons behind the tension he breaks the rule of journalism and becomes personally involved in the trouble – and experiences tragedy that stays with him forever.

The book gives a taste of what India must have been like in those troubled times, but it also has a glimpse of the wonders of India: her riotously colourful beauty and her vibrant culture.

I’m not entirely sure what I think of it, though. The writing is good – expressive when it needs to be but mostly economical, which gives the feeling of a newspaper article. Vijay as narrator is somewhat boring, which made me feel stifled as he must have in his home village. But it’s hard to really feel the action through the words of this narrator, and as a result the exciting moments are not exciting and the tragedy doesn’t feel very tragic. I think, to get a proper feel of it, I will need to read it again. And that’s not a bad thing.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
This message last edited by Rebekah on 24/09/2009 at 10:41:26 PM
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Other Literature: The Solitude of Emperors by David Davidar - 24/09/2009 09:33:39 PM 6088 Views
Can we make Roh read it? - 25/09/2009 10:07:26 AM 1511 Views
She might have already. Ask her. - 25/09/2009 10:18:04 AM 1556 Views
Re: She might have already. Ask her. - 25/09/2009 10:22:23 AM 1565 Views

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