Pankaj Mishra has taken on an ambitious subject--the attraction and almost equal repulsion that the East and the West feel toward each other. At his best, he evokes his homeland with an aching immediacy:
A thin crimson-edged mist hung over the river when I walked out of the house. The alleys leading to the main road would be empty, the houses sunk in a blue haze, still untouched by the sun, which had already begun to tentatively probe the façades of the houses lining the river. Rubbish lay in uneven mounds, or was strewn across the cobblestone street, firmly sticking to the place where it had been deposited by an overflowing open drain. After every twenty meters or so, a fresh stench hung in the air.He also masterfully exposes the almost absurd gap between the reality of India as Samar experiences it and the romantic notions that his foreign friends bring to it with their "self-consciously ethnic knickknacks" and their fleeting enthusiasms. One wishes Mishra had a little more faith in his considerable talents and the intelligence of his readers. Where he falls down is in the excessive explanations he provides of his characters' thoughts and motivations. They are, by and large, unnecessary; heartbreak is in the air the first time Samar meets Miss West, and by novel's end his cast of romantics are certainly sadder, if not all wiser. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The narrative is very fluid and the sentiments quite reflective.
As soon as I started reading it I realised that to make the book acceptable to the western readers, Mishra has almost made it a formula book.
The story is populated by some wonderful, quirky characters but they do very little after appearing in the plot.
While Mr. Mishra may be a young, promising author, as noted by many readers, I would have to say this is simply not a good novel. Read morePublished 7 months ago by dk
In this tale spanning seven years, Mishra explores love and longing through a 20 yr old student Samar, who lives rather aimlessly in Benares. Read morePublished on June 14, 2007 by Dotmom
THE ROMANTICS is a short novel that is far from shallow. In fact, most of the action takes place far beneath the surface. Read morePublished on December 17, 2005 by krebsman
Samar is a 20 year old student in 1989. He arrives in Benares, "the Oxford of the East", where he hopes to study and spend his time with his favourite books. Read morePublished on September 8, 2005 by HORAK
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. Read morePublished on April 9, 2005 by Philip Lohman
I just finished this book and was very surprised that the author did not give credit or homage to V. S. Read morePublished on February 27, 2005 by Didi
I am a fan of Indian writers and I saw this book in the library and decided to take it out. The fact that it takes place in Benares was one of the reasons the book attracted me. Read morePublished on February 2, 2005 by Rose Alford
At the outset, it seemed to be an (another) East meets West story, but it truly felt to be a book about love. Read morePublished on November 30, 2004 by Thaatchaayini Kananatu
For a short book, one is able to grasp the essence of life of an out-of-school young person in India. Read morePublished on August 8, 2002 by tokesan