Friday, 29 November 2013

BOOK REVIEW : The Alchemy of Desire by Tarun Tejpal

The name Tarun Tejpal is associated with lots of things - be it the sting operations on the key members of the political party BJP when they were in power, his close associations with the Congress party or the latest sexual abuse charge on him by his employee who is not only his daughter's age but also a close friend of his daughter.
What came as a surprise to me is that this man is an author and a good one too. He has written three books till date. The Alchemy of Desire is his first book.
I was halfway through this book when I got to know about the sexual abuse charge on him. This deplorable behaviour of his put a very ugly blot on my impression of this extremely talented author and I was almost tempted to throw away the book. But the avid reader in me would not let me do so. I did finish the book but the initial joy and the continous delight in finding a great read was missing and it was more of a job than pleasure. I blame Mr. Tejpal for taking away my joy.
The Alchemy of Desire is a story about a young man and the love of his life, his wife Fiza, whom he calls Fizz. They are madly in love with each other and the deep intensity of their mutual desire keeps the relationship alive inspite of the small skirmishes and disagreements. They are not rich in the monetory sence but they are extremely rich when it comes to love, passion and desire. He is a journalist by profession but in heart, he is an author, who is trying to write something special. Their life is running through its smooth course till they suddenly become owners of a bungalow in the foothills of Himalaya. It is here that they come across a trunk full of diaries while renovating the house, which changes the very equation of their relationship. The diaries belonged to an English lady who was the original owner of this house. The protagonist gets totally involved in deciphering the diaries and as a result he starts distancing himself away from Fizz. His life changes completely as his obsession with the diaries increase. The story ends with the protagonist understanding himself better and also as to what matters most in his life. The story ends on a positive note.
Tejpal as an author has immense talent. He is in love with all his characters,  be they be small or central. The way he gives them physical, emotional, mental, psychological traits is commendable. He brings all the characters to life by his beautiful narrative. It is a sheer delight to read.  He writes about the different eras with such detail and thought that it brings every scene alive in the reader's mind. I did find the book a tad too descriptive in certain places but overall it's worth a read.
The only thing which stops this book from being the perfect one is Tarun Tejpal himself and am very disillusioned by this whole goa episode.

1 comment:

  1. I guess he will do introspection. Not often you are put behind bars with drug additcts, murderers and other criminals. May be he will write a good book arising out of his experiences.