R Raj Rao’s novel, The Boyfriend, falls into the category of books that the Babu praises for their good intentions, and deplores for their near-total lack of craft. The BBC sees the book as a watershed of sorts for the gay community in Bombay. So did the Babu, though Raj Rao’s insistence on comparing the male anatomy to everything from chillies to carrots to cucumbers reminded him forcibly of Andrew Marvell’s line: “..my vegetable love doth grow…”

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