I cannot believe some of the harsh criticism leveled against this book by some of the early reviewers. While this may not be "The Great Indian Novel," it is a beautifully written story.
I see this book as a "coming of age" novel. The narrator has led a fairly isolated life until he arrives at Benares to continue his studies after completing his undergraduate degree. There, he meets a number of European and American expatriates, apparently his first true encounters with Westeners. Their behavior and attitudes are so vastly different from his that he is left puzzled, especially at the beginning. The relationships that he forms transform his life in ways that he could not have anticipated.
The narrator describes different areas of India, and Indian life, from his native point of view. His descriptions of the cluttered city streets, rural poverty and Himalayan beauty are viewed without the usual Western "filters" in so many English language novels.
I think that this is a beautiful and moving first novel.
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The Romantics A Novel by Pankaj Mishra - Paperback Paperback – 1 January 2013
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- ISBN-10 : 9780143421221
- ISBN-13 : 978-0143421221
- Product Dimensions : 29 x 20 x 3 cm
- Publisher : Penguin Books (1 January 2013)
- ASIN : 0143421220
- Language: : English
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Amazon.com: 33 reviews
A wonderful first novelJuly 9, 2000 - Published on Amazon.com
6 people found this helpful
Sacramento Fiction Reader
an enigmatic protagonistJuly 10, 2001 - Published on Amazon.com
I've read quite a few reviews of both books and films in which the reviewer pans the work because it lacks a "story." This criticism may be made of The Romantics; however, I often find that I enjoy the works so-described for a host of other strengths. That sums up my opinion of this book. In the words of one reviewer, it's "boring" in that it has only a marginal plot. I also agree with another reviewer, though, who writes that Mishra's prose is so fluid and beautiful in places I was compelled to continue. This is, as yet another reviewer suggested, a quite promising first novel. I never quite feel that I get to know Samar, the first-person narrator, but I liked him nonetheless for his innocence and reserve. Mishra needs to learn the art of writing dialogue, and he may well become a master.
2 people found this helpful
Grace, intensity and beautyApril 10, 2005 - Published on Amazon.com
This is a novel of remembered youth, lost love and self-discovery. Told in Mishra's crystalline, courtly prose, it is vividly imagined and emotionally resonant. Mishrah has a knack for evoking people who have misplaced their lives in a chaotic landscape and a view of emotion and motivation that is almost clinical in its clarity. Mishrah's style is superficially similar to Naipaul's but his perspective strikes me as much more compassionate and lacking Naipaul's perpetual undertone of disillusionment. This is a much better book than Mishra's An End to Suffering, which seemed to me rather an awkward blend of didacticism and literary autobiography. Mishrah should stick to fiction: The Romantics is a wonderful read.
6 people found this helpful
Deeply disappointingOctober 5, 2020 - Published on Amazon.com
The main takeaway from this novel for me is: never rely on just the professional reviews plastered all over the paperback edition...it was because of these glowing tributes that I soldiered on until the end of this essentially boring piece, which involves unlikable characters and a basically preposterous premise. I am an avid consumer of fiction dealing with all the myriad aspects of the life and culture of India, and, noting that I had apparently missed this one back when it was published, was drawn to it by the enthusiasm of the critics. Would've put the book down and given up halfway through if it hadn't been for them....so, thinking there must be something lying in wait, perhaps toward the end, I soldiered on. Sorry I did.