Thursday, February 18, 2010

Paradise And Other Stories - Khushwant Singh

Somewhat disappointing from the man who wrote “Train To Pakistan” and “Delhi”.

It’s a collection of 5 short stories. ‘Titillation under 5 pretexts’. That’s my evaluation of this book In one line.


Paradise - A foreigner woman who visit’s the banks of the Ganges, seeking solace, is disillusioned by an experience she has in a certain ashram.

Life’s horoscope - Madan Mohan relies on horoscope and Kamasutra for a perfect marriage. But soon after marriage, he discovers that he has the biggest imperfection

Zora Singh - Zora Singh, an object of dislike and mockery for his ways among many, manages to earn a Bharat Ratna by unscrupulous means

Wanted a son - A woman secretly visit’s a peer Baba to beget a son while the family makes vows to God for a grandchild.

The mulberry tree - Vijay, a non-descript 54 year old is occupied with the vain pursuit of a woman in a market place

Basically the first 4 stories are trying to dispel popular beliefs. What is common to all of them is ‘the inside story’. As for the fifth story, I do not know why it was written.

The author takes up religious superstitions.

There is no judgment in his narration. It is very matter-of-factly. He is merely stating what happens in the world around us. But inadvertently he would, with these stories, serve to verify the preconceptions of many a cynic, many a skeptic.

There is the reference to the atrocities done by Muslims to the Hindus – this reference, though impartial in its observation, is common in all his works.

There is the usual dose of titillation… somewhat unsavoury, and distasteful.

The stories do not have a strong theme. One part of the story moves into a second one and ends in a third without tying up really.

This work reminds me of the way I felt when I read Paulo Coelho’s ‘Zahir’ with respect to one aspect - effortless writing, hence the poor quality. When authors become famous, they can sell even what they have not written well.

Lines that I noted as usual…

What cannot be cured must be endured.

No one can go before his time, no one can live a second beyond the span allotted to him.

I would not recommend this book.


Anonymous said...

Nice blog you have Soumya...Read couple of posts and liked it..others will read in leisurely. The first book that I read of Khuswant Singh was "Company of Women" and I must tell you it was so titillating that I never picked up any of his work further..In my humble opinion he is quite an over rated author...though I have not read his "Train To Pakistan" which is his most popular work...

Sowmya said...

Welcome again Sourav.

You should read "Train To Pakistan' and 'Delhi' by Khushwant Singh. 'Delhi' especially is brilliant.

Anonymous said...

I loved "The Company of women". I don't agree with the comment at all. I have read all his books. Of course "Train to Pakistan" and "Delhi" is much more talked about and one of which is made into a film. I haven't read Paradise but I have ordered one anyway. His books are rather inexpensive for his class compared to other authors. Hence, I wouldn't really mind it.

Amrit Beebee said...

It's funny that I came across this blogpost. As I have recently read delhi and then train to Pakistan back to back and was planning on reading Paradise and other stories. I googled and found this. Apparently, those are his only two good novels and I am already done with them. It's sad cuz I would have liked to read more from khushwant singh.