There’s the one about the monk who spoke of monasteries, lamaseries and hermitages at such length that he finally exasperated his friend, who admonished him: “Sects, sects, sects, is that all you can think about?”
Well, Anita Roy read The Alchemy of Desire and now she’s celibate. (Just kidding. But she clearly had fun doing the review:)
‘This is a big book. In all senses of the word. But in literature, as in sex, less is often more and size isn’t everything. We get to the “plot”—a historical drama travelling from an orientalist curio shop in turn-of-the-century Manhattan, via a Paris so louche it would make the Moulin Rouge blush, to an explosive menage a trois in the foothills of the Himalayas—only in Book Four, nearly two-thirds of the way through. By this time, exhausted by the unflaggingly enthusiastic sex of the narrator and his wife, the reader is impressed less by their inventiveness, athleticism and earth-shattering passion than by their sheer stamina.
There is sex heterosexual, homosexual, voyeuristic, bestial, quasi-tantric, onanistic, even sex with ghosts; sex in bedrooms, bathrooms, under trees, over tables: sex withheld, sex embraced; brusque couplings, long, multiple-orgasmic symphonies; there is even a rape—by a hysterically enraged Sikh driver of his broken-down antique of a bus. Almost every page seethes with erotic overtones, undertones, and mid-tones. Tejpal makes even toothache sexy: “Throb, ebb. Pain, peace. Throb, ebb.”‘
Leave a Reply