14 May, 2021

I, The Fierce Poseidon

An editor’s breakneck rise and fall inspires a good thriller, but a dig for moral treasures unearths embarrassments.

Jitender Gupta
I, The Fierce Poseidon

Launched recently in the presence of that Midas literary agent, David Godwin, David Davidar’s Ithaca was accorded the five-star treatment that India’s publishing houses reserve for their most favoured authors: public readings, cocktail reception with Page Three cuties and TV interviews by fawning anchors who probably never find the time to read.

Ithaca also announced the return of a prodigal (its Biblical significance will become evident later). Davidar’s successful steering of Penguin from a fledgling office to India’s most prominent publishing house is still remembered. His triumphant journey beyond India to Canada and its abrupt end cut short what was widely regarded as a fairytale career. Now a publisher with his own imprint, Aleph, Davidar is all set to conquer the land of his birth once more.

Ithaca, his third and latest novel, must be read in the context of this prelude, for it documents both the personal and professional trajectories of someone who has, it appears,...

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