17 June, 2021

An Equal Temperament

Though anchored in music, this novel is about vanity and greed, revolves around a timelessly topical class.

Jitender Gupta
An Equal Temperament
The Immortals is a novel about the effects of music on two families across the guru-shishya divide: the venal, squabbling family of Pandit Shyamlal and the rich and insular Senguptas.

Wodehouse used the word ‘shimmer’ to describe Jeeves’ unobtrusive but insistent presence. It is a good word to describe Amit Chaudhuri’s new novel. Through 400-odd pages, it shimmers, without stating its case. The exquisite passages of intelligence that typified this writer’s early pensive novels are present, but are lost in the torpor of his protagonist’s vacant gaze, best summarised in the novel’s last, and snappiest, paragraph: "Nirmalya sighed as he refolded the aerogramme. He sat and looked straight in front of him. Where did this sudden melancholy come from? Was it Pyarelal, or the light outside, or the way in which Shyamji had gone abruptly? Or was it something without history, a dull, buzzing ache which had first announced itself to him during his transformation from a child into a young man, which had no present and immediate...

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