Great expectations and a large canvas boil down to vibrant local color, undying attachments and a lot of sex. Six months later, the couple will have separated both from each other and from the fabulous old house they share in the foothills of the Himalayas. A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships. A middle-aged woman returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father, confronting many painful secrets from her past. Gone is the rebellious young person she remembers, and in his place stands a compassionate, accomplished adult. As Jack and Mallory chase down answers, Mallory also tries to repair her rocky relationships with her two sisters and determine why her father has always been so hard on her.
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Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Alchemy of Desire by Tarun J. Set against the brilliantly drawn backdrop of India at the turn of the millennium, The Alchemy of Desire tells the story of a young couple, penniless but gloriously in love. Obsessed with each other, they move from a small town to the big city, where the man, who dreams of being a writer, works feverishly on a novel, stopping only to feed his ceaseless desire for his beaut Set against the brilliantly drawn backdrop of India at the turn of the millennium, The Alchemy of Desire tells the story of a young couple, penniless but gloriously in love.
Obsessed with each other, they move from a small town to the big city, where the man, who dreams of being a writer, works feverishly on a novel, stopping only to feed his ceaseless desire for his beautiful wife.
A chance occurrence allows the lovers to abandon the city for a mist-shrouded spur of the lower Himalayas and move into a sprawling old house, which they hope will embody their love. At first they pursue their deep physical need with a reckless intensity. But during renovations of the house, a set of diaries written by the original inhabitant—a glamorous American adventuress—is unearthed, and the narrator finds himself irresistibly drawn away from his wife and thrust into another world and time, into the hole of history.
As his life and love fall apart, he slowly begins to uncover the dark secrets at the heart of her story, until the shocking truth is laid bare and all certainties are overturned. Inventive, playful, heartbreaking, brimming with ideas and memorable characters, The Alchemy of Desire celebrates the chaotic spirit of a country during a time of great change. It also offers, in searing, lucid prose, a deeply sensual and moving meditation on the nature of desire, history, truth, and art.
This is a major novel by one of the most significant new voices of his generation. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. Published December 26th by Ecco first published January More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about The Alchemy of Desire , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about The Alchemy of Desire. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of The Alchemy of Desire. Garbage of Higher Order! Sexual extravagance can be employed as a shocking factor, especially in transgressive fictions, case in point Charles Bukowski. There is so much wetness.
You might skid on it and damage your cerebellum even before crossing 50 pages, if you are not very careful. After about pages, a back story starts in s. Let me throw in Punjab insurgency! Of course, more wetness! To Mr. Tejpal, chimneys resemble phallus, rhino horn resembles phallus and anything which stands up resembles only one thing. Not much chance for wetness with characters involved. So what do we get from this bold writer. A hindu woman crosses border with her money stuffed inside vagina.
Yet another backstory. More back stories for characters in that back story. After pages, the book actually picks up pace and reads like a decent fiction. Not just mere wetness, you get flooded at this point. What do we get then. Sushi with a gulp of Sake. Yes, Mr. Holmes uncovers a mystery in 'Rashomon' style. Without a doubt, it is a daring, bold, beautiful, intense, sensual and hard hitting fiction. Where is the catch then. Everything is a little bit too much and you end up with a verbal diarrhea.
View all 6 comments. Utter trash entwined with historical real or fictitious events to give the book a raison d'etre, but alas it is just bad sex all around.
This is a very well written book with a steady subject at hand. This book is split up into five sections: Karma, Sathya, Kama, etc. We start with our nameless narrator and his wife, Fizz, at a crux in their marriage after fifteen years.
For some reason he just doesn't desire her body anymore as he has constantly for the duration of their This is a very well written book with a steady subject at hand. For some reason he just doesn't desire her body anymore as he has constantly for the duration of their relationship. The reason is not yet fully explained, but is touched upon in the back cover copy. We end the first section with his wife leaving him. We begin the next section with their relationship in its better moments, his struggling life as a writer, their struggling for money as he finds the great novel within him, Indian history.
Then, we're on to our narrator's family history, more of their relationship, odd-jobs they work to keep themselves afloat, more random stories, etc. In the 'Money' section we learn he has inherited money from an aunt who disproved of his marrying a Muslim and so they spend recklessly and end up buying a home in Chandigarh. He has found more than sixty notebooks from an American woman that had inhabited the home and whose soul and perhaps curse inflicts him sexually then through abuse in his dreams causing him to be completely spent by the time he awakes to his beautiful Fizz.
The next portion is her story as he's been able to decipher it through her journals and here we have even more SEX, written tastefully but clearly until we move on to the final section where our narrator realizes he is nothing without Fizz though he has sat for over two years letting these journals consume him.
His last line is a reversal of the first line in the book realizing that real intimacy is at it's best when love is involved. Tejpal tips to India's history and background in sections that aren't too daunting to read about, but they do tend to shift focus from the main narrative causing one to want to skip. I'd suggest reading nonetheless as I found myself enthralled by certain chapters, sections, but again think this could've been condensed to make the story flow and for us not to have to wallow with the protagonist.
View 1 comment. Sep 07, Rajtilak Bhattacharjee rated it it was ok Shelves: own , fiction. Do you remember Tarun Tejpal? The Editor-in-Chief of the revolutionary newspaper Tehelka? Very recently he has published a novel. The name of the book is The Alchemy of Desire.
I would not mind saying that it is a nice fiction inspite of the fact that I have not finished even half of it yet. He sets the mood with the powerful starting line which says Love is not the greatest glue between two people.
Sex is. How true! Being a person who Do you remember Tarun Tejpal? Being a person who loves to call himself impulsive, I would still say that emotional bondings attached with physical attraction are much more stronger compared to the platonic love of old Hindi flicks. And I can say that from my personal experience of being a person who have been in and out of love quite a number of times.
The story revolves around an impecunious young couple from a small town in India who are madly in love with eachother, move to the big city. The man works hard on a novel while caring only about his endless desire for his beautiful wife.
In time they leave the city and moves to an old house in the Himalayas. While renovating their new home the husband discovers a chest full of diaries maintained by the previous owner of the house. In those diaries he slowly uncovers a dark secret, a forbidden secret. It a nice buy and is worth every penny And once you start reading it, it's pretty difficult to put it down.
THE ALCHEMY OF DESIRE
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The Alchemy of Desire
This is the Indian novel that has been endorsed by VS Naipaul: "At last - a new and brilliantly original novel from India," he says on the dust jacket. Tarun J Tejpal's The Alchemy of Desire would have been significant even without this endorsement, as it is written by a major contemporary editor and publisher, a person who, as the publicity material puts it, is "famous in India" for his uncompromising journalism. What Naipaul's statement does is raise the question: can ordinary criticism support his endorsement? Are the pages of this novel thick enough to bear this burden? The Alchemy of Desire is initially the story of a couple obsessed with each other and, at least from the perspective of the male partner who is also the narrator , with sex. This male obsession with sex is sometimes effectively channelled to narrative ends but it never really reaches the density of, say, Nobokov's Lolita, partly because it sounds too much like the obsession of Anglophone Indians from professional classes, an obsession that is defined, even in its absence, by the paucity of ordinary sexual opportunities available to that particular class in India.
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