Author: Amit Chaudhuri
Publisher: Picador India
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9780330455800
Shyamji has music in his blood, for his father was the acclaimed ‘heavenly singer’ and guru, Ram Lal. But Shyam Lal is not his father, and knows he never will be.
Mallika Sengupta’s voices have made her famous, but being the wife of a successful businessman is a full-time occupation in itself.
Mallika’s son, Nirmalya, believes in suffering for his art, and for him, all compromise is failure: those with talent should be true to that talent, No matter what.
Written in haunting, melodic prose, The Immortals tells the story – or stories – of Shyam, Mallika and Nirmalya: their relationships, their lives, their music. More than that, though, it is the story of music itself, of music as art, and an exploration of its place in the modern world of money and commerce. It is also the most considerable achievement to date by one of the finest writers of his generation.
‘Haven’t I seen you before?’ asked Mallika Sengupta. ‘I’m ‘I’ve seen you before’. Shyamji had been waiting for her, looking beyond the sunken balcony at the sea.
‘Didi,’ he said very courteously, ‘I once came with my wife’s brother, Motilaji, you were in a different flat, then.’
‘Of course,’ she said – the day returned to her – and ,’I remember – he said something like, “She thinks no end of herself,” and you looked as if you wished you were somewhere else.’ And she was oddly stirred by the memory of his discomfiture.
REVIEWS & COMMENTS
‘Chaudhuri can write better than just about anyone of his generation’
-JONATHAN COE, London Review of Books
‘Among the literary voice from India to have made themselves heard in this country over the past ten years, Amit Chaudhuri’s is one of the most impressive: beautifully balanced, affecting, truthful’
‘The pleasures of Chaudhuri’s writing lie in the absolute clarity of his phrasing, the perfectly mimicked rhythm of a conversation and, above all, his spare and truthful rendering of the subtle mechanics of close human relationships…Every sentence can seem a small act of beauty’
‘Chaudhuri can lay down a scene in a few sentences, thanks to the fineness of his perceptions, the delicacy with he draws relationships and his gift for recording the passing of days’
‘Chaudhuri writes about India like no one else’
- Robert McCrum, Observer