About the Book
The Last Labyrinth is a splendid novel - serious, disturbing, lyrical and irresistibly readable, a fascinating exploration into the turbulent inner world of a successful urban India. Som Bhaskar is a millionaire-industrialist, married to a woman of his choice who has borne him two children, yet relentlessly driven by undefined hunger which he unsuccessfully seeks to satisfy by possession - of an object, a business enterprise, a woman. Much like Saul Bellow's Henderson he is always crying, 'I want, I want, I want.' His search takes him from Bombay to Benares, at once holy and repellent - with its narrow, dirty lanes, dancing girls and a mystical aura. Amidst this contrasting juxtaposition of locales, the novel explores the meaning of life and death, illusion and reality, desire and resignation. Here is an eternally contemporary theme with all its complexities; the story's spiritual and sensuous dimensions are interwoven with great finesse making this novel a rare, unforgettable treat. 'The story is beautifully written ... holds the reader's undivided attention to the finis.' - Khushwant Singh
February 7, 2001
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Arun Joshi's The Last Labyrinth
Respected Indian novelist Arun Joshi's novel The Last Labyrinth won India's prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award over twenty years ago, and is still considered one of the most important books in the area of Indian English fiction. Surprising? Not really, for even though it was written such a long time ago, the book still exerts a great hold on the consciousness of anyone who reads it. Even though I last read it over a year ago, its story still haunts me. In fact, the best adjective to describe Joshi's masterpiece is the word "haunting." Set in a world of mystery,and the darkness of human emotions, it is often hard to figure out, yet the themes it addresses can appeal to anyone, even those who are unfamiliar with Indian fiction. The story is relatively simple: rich businessman Som goes to take over the company of a strange eccentric man and is consequently drawn into his world of shadowy awareness, and into a passionate, obsessive affair with his mistress (?) Anuradha. Is...
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