Delhi: 2a Novel

Khushwant Singh, Author, Khushwant, Author Penguin Books $8.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-14-012619-8
This sprawling, erotic, exotic novel spiked with Rabelaisian humor is set in both modern and ancient Delhi. The narrator is a journalist and sometimes tour guide/lover to rich foreign women who visit his native city, such as Lady Hoity-Toity, the noted archaeologistp. 13 . From his numerous short-lived sexual affairs, about which he boasts to friends, to his ongoing relationship with a hijda (half-man half-woman) prostitute named Baghmati, to fairy-tale-like stories within the story about Delhi's history dating back to the 1300's, a unique vision of Delhi emerges--one that is filled with both affection and revulsion, a city of temples and bazaars, of muddy waters, filth and poverty. Comparing his love for Delhi with his love for Baghmati, he sets out to ``explain the strange paradox of his lifelong, love-hate affair with the city and the woman,'' warning that it may read like ``A Fucking Man's Guide to Delhi: Past and Present.'' As much fun as the novel is, however, especially at the outset, it goes on too long without much plot to drive it. Singh is a veteran Indian journalist and author of Train to Pakistan . (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
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