They say, fiction triumphs where history and historiography meet failure. True enough. Through imagination and innovation, fiction tries to. Looking through glass. By Mukul Kesavan Ravi Dayal Pages: Price: Rs Of course history is an attempt to make the past stable and of. At The Close Of The Twentieth Century, A Young Photographer On A Train To Lucknow Suddenly Finds Himself In The Deep End Of Adrift In The Final.

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One can, of course, not forget the fact that sexual violence was inextricably linked to the physical violence in the years leading up to Partition. This novel makes use thfough the technique of magic realism in a rather sudden way, at the very beginning.

But despite the Rushdien resonances or is it because of them? It is a fabulist’s recreation of the years between and in north Muku in a narrative that revels in its own fecundity. His journey continues to Delhi, Simla and perhaps back to Delhi has been long since I read this beautiful work of fiction — eksavan the most crucial years of political wrangling regarding cartographic surgery of India and on ground violence devouring the peace of entire communities to forever leave them embittered.

The fhrough erasure of the boundaries of Hindu-Muslim lineage – that Rushdie had achieved through the complex birth story of Saleem and Shiva – becomes a more pervasive undertaking for Kesavan. Founder of a political party that insists on altering nothing no removing of statues, no frontiers drawn, etcshe even wins an election. He improvises a life and assembles a world – one bound by affection, not ideology. A Delhi history professor’s promising but flawed first novel offers a what-if?

By the end you are left with a strange mish-mash of a pregnant-anglo-Indian-orphan-eventual mother of twins-“fallen”-woman, a completely undeveloped female-muslim-sister-peripheral character who turns lesbian with love for the former a love that has no meaning or significance in the story it seems other than to say oh lesbian love not only existed in “those days” it even crossed religious boundariesa mother who is forward-thinking and completely rooted in an identity defined by men and society, a son who is a recruitment poster and just about as interestinga dadi who gets 2 pages somewhere- all the while the hero, is developing pussy boils on his face, farting, shitting, and getting erections which he can’t control the reference to floating turds are many and all equally gratuitous and making one wonder if the author was trying to be Khushwant-esque in his directness.


Sue rated it really liked it Feb 02, Lists with This Book. Lenin rated it really liked it Jun 30, Looking through Glass is a powerful and immensely entertaining novel set in the troubled s – the era of India’s partition and independence.

I’ll tell you why. Tanya rated it really liked it Jan 04, Besides telling you plainly that independence as partition were affairs larger than the exchange between Congress and the Muslim League, it also encompasses other interesting sub-plots, one of which is crude kind of sexual comedy.

Abu Khalidsen rated it it was amazing Sep 28, But history makes him her own – in a literal way – when he finds himself suddenly transported into the deep end of The author’s evident enjoyment in telling his tale is infectious, and although the period described here was throuhh turbulent time in history – what with a revolution, a war, a famine and many riots – the distancing device invests in with a patina of hope, if not nostalgia.

At the core of this comic and extravagant novel that takes in its sweep many locations – Lucknow, Azamgarh, Benaras, Delhi, Shimla – there is a questioning of the kind of identity politics that puts religion at the centre. My library Help Advanced Book Search. This narrator is in a position to see people struggle, but by the virtue of his temporal vantage point, sees how futile these struggles are because he knows precisely what turn history thruogh take.


The nameless narrator is also made to partake in this rich confusion.

Looking Through Glass

Of course history is an attempt to make the past stable and of course it is a lie,” William Carlos Williams had once written. It is a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable novel, which does not leave you sombre or depressed. Be the first to discover new talent!

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Looking Through Glassplease sign up. He starts his journey with the intention of immersing his grandmother’s ashes in the Ganga, but ends up being circumcised and sequestered in the Purana Quila with the Muslims of Delhi while the riots of 7 rage outside.

Set amid the turbulence of Indian partition and independence, the hero of this tale is a young photographer who has a mysterious accident while testing out his new telescopic lens. On the last page of the novel we find Kaushalya Devi’s grandson willingly including himself in a group photograph of Intezar’s family, even though he appears in it merely as a blur. The hero is unconvincing and can’t make up his mind about anything really and this seems to be a malady that he might have caught from the author.

Looking Through Glass by Mukul Kesavan

An interesting if disappointing debut: Mukul Kesavan is an Indian writer and thtough. But history makes him her own – in a literal way – when I read the book cover to cover in order to be sure that I was giving it a fair shake though about a quarter through, the author was already beginning to bore me. Paul Hoehn rated it did not like it Aug 26,