10 May, 2021

The Gospel Of St Makelove

Don't think it's an OD on sex. It's a treatise on the subject: the Indian Penile Code.

Jitender Gupta
The Gospel Of St Makelove
Tarun Tejpal likes a challenge. The bigger, the better. Whether it’s exposing match-fixing cricketers, or stinging corrupt politicians, our very own desi gonzo-journalist is renowned for his (metaphorical) balls. But to write a grand piece of literature about a writer failing to write a grand piece of literature, to write a testosteronic novel of sex, sex and more sex without sounding hammy or pornographic—seems like a more than usually suicidal mission for one of India’s premier kamikaze pilots. The desire to keep turning the pages must be partly ascribed to the delicious uncertainty as to whether this particular flight of fancy will stay the course, or crash and burn under the sheer weight of its own hubris.

The title at first sounds overweeningly pretentious. Till, about half way through the book, you realise it describes exactly what the book is about. It is a treatise, no more and no less, on how to take the bodily, sensual, heady, potent, life-propelling base metal of sexual love and transform it into the pure gold of art. An aspiration as lofty and—perhaps—as...

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