30 July, 2021

Love’s Labour Misspent

This is a book worth reading—once.

Love’s Labour Misspent

This novel ends with a letter to Farrukh Dhondy, narrator, from his aunts in Pune after he has sent them his articles on the Prophet of Love: “Our dear nephew, we are so proud of you. You have such a great command of the English language.”

There is the bone that sticks in my throat. For one who has been a professional writer for over thirty years, and who, moreover, once set up Lawrence Durrell as his icon, Dhondy’s language is remarkably clumsy. I have now read his last two books in quick succession, and he does not so much write a novel as blunder along seeking the truth--which, as a character in this book points out, need not be the same as the facts. Yet, he does move towards the truth, and for that I can forgive much, including the ungainliness of his gait. Odysseus had a limp too, and see what he did.

Dhondy is a London journalist back in Pune exploring the phenomenon of Bhagwan Saket—a thinly disguised Rajneesh. (I’m told the use of Dhondy’s own name in his last two books—London Company [2012] and...

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