It all started in August 1968 when Babo, with curly hair and
jhill mill teeth, became the first member of the Patel family to leave
Madras and fly on a plane all the way to London to further his
education. His father should have known there would be trouble: on the
morning of the departure he had his first and only dream, in which
strange ghosts threw poison-tipped arrows and all his family was lost.
But off Babo went, and now here he is, in a flat off the Finchley Road,
untraditionally making love to a cream-skinned girl from Wales, Sian
Jones, who he fell head over heels for as soon as he saw the twirl of
red ribbon in her hair.
Ba-ba-boom, ba-ba-boom, ba-ba-boom-boom-boom. Theirs is a mixed-up love in a topsy-turvy world, and their two families will never be the same again. Meet the Patel-Joneses: Babo, Sian, Mayuri and Bean, in their little house with orange and black gates next-door to the Punjab Women's Association.
As the twentieth century creaks and croaks its way along - somewhere out there Jim Morrison commits suicide; Charles and Diana get hitched; Indira Gandhi is assassinated by her own bodyguards; cable TV arrives in India - these four navigate their way through the uncharted territory of a 'hybrid' family: the hustle and bustle of Babo's relatives, the faraway phone-line crackle of Sian's, the eternal wisdom and soft bosom of great-grandmother Ba, the perils of first love, lost innocence and old age, and the big question: what do you do with the space your loved ones leave behind? In this tender, lyrical and uplifting debut, Tishani Doshi, a prizewinning poet, effortlessly captures the quirks and calamities of one unusual clan in a story of identity, family, belonging and all-transcending love.
About The Author
Tishani Doshi is a poet and dancer based in Madras, India. Her first collection of poetry, Countries of the Body, won the Forward Poetry Prize for best first collection in 2006. The Pleasure Seekers is her first novel.
In this luminous comedy of four generations of Patels, poet and dancer
Tishani Doshi weaves together the worlds of India and Wales, her twin
Like the lovers of The Pleasure Seekers, Doshi has a Welsh mother and a Gujurati father. Her debut novel, brimming with tender humour, has the endeared feel of family history.
The Pleasure Seekers celebrates the protean adaptability of family. Doshi poses the exile's age-old question: where is my home? Her writing, never less than poignant, sparkles with exuberance. When Gujurati Babo leaves Madras in 1968 and meets Welsh Siân, his dad is incandescent. He him back to India on the pretext of his mother's illness, and hides his passport. Time passes and the new family puts its roots down in India. Racial difficulties are, if not precisely resolved, then suspended in family love – under the guidance of a benignly powerful grandmother, Ba.
The Pleasure Seekers charms its readers and indulges its people. The episodic narrative has a carnivalesque feel. Departure and arrival mediate one another: all is one. Lithe and agile, the novel dances its people across barriers of race and nation and even across borders of gender.
The brutal racism of the British does not impinge. Doshi runs the intimate family plot against the dire narrative of public events – Bhopal, assassinations, the Republic Day earthquake. If the characters are simplified and idealised (especially the Welsh), the marvels of Doshi's language and a spirit of merriment create a fictional world where all is forgiven.
'Haunting, assured, delicately crafted... wonderfully fresh and precise' Ruth Padel 'Poised yet unpredictable...streaks of magic, love and memory' Mick Imlah 'Tishani Doshi's poems have both heart and intelligence. They are rich in mysterious images and narratives both explicit and implied. You could read them a hundred times and still find something you hadn't noticed before' Louis de Bernieres
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 29th June 2010
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Dimensions (cm): 21.6 x 13.4 x 2.540
Weight (kg): 0.342