The Last Jet-Engine Laugh
is a new fashion statement in Indian writing. To print
parts of the book, instead of ink, the publishers have used adrenaline. Only this could
explain the books wildness and its speed. Ruchir Joshis debut novel is a rough
ride through three generations of an Indian family. As if edited for cinema, the novel
presents a collage-work in which the reader flies through a jumbled landscape that is
marked by iconic phases in our history: the freedom struggle, Indira Gandhis
Emergency, and a future in which conflicts like the one in Kargil have given way to new,
post-national alliances as well as fresh possibilities of annihilation.
The books principal character is Paresh Bhatt, Magnum photographer and an acutely
divided citizen of a triumphant global order. Bhatt is cousin to Rushdies Rai in The
Ground Beneath Her Feet; like Rai, Bhatt is prone to offer aphorisms on the state of
the emergent world, his heart, and, of course, his art as well as rock and roll.
Bhatt is also only a switch...