13 June, 2021

A Gay Gong

A novel both subtle and arresting, a rare book about the new India that manages to be deeply curious without ever slipping into hyperbole.

A Gay Gong

In his first novel, Aatish Taseer tells the story of Aatish Taseer, a young Western-educated Indian with an absent Pakistani father, a famous journalist for a mother, and a deep hunger to be a writer. Taseer inhabits a world of privilege whose compass points include the laburnum-lined crescent of Amrita Shergill Marg, the marbled depths of the Oberoi, and lamplit dinner parties that feature “politicians, journalists, broken-down royals and perhaps an old Etonian lying fatly on a deep sofa”. Taseer’s friends know London by its trendy restaurants; their childhoods are collectively marked by the pastry shop Chocolate Wheel in Jor Bagh.

Into this milieu, Taseer introduces a representative of that protean, heaving, endlessly explorable but impossible to pin down world: the new India. Aakash Sharma lives in a drab satellite city of Delhi called Sectorpur and works as a trainer at Junglee gym in the heart of town. He wears red and black religious threads around his neck and a diamante band on his wrist. To Taseer,...

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