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The Solitude of Emperors by David Davidar

The Solitude of Emperors

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A beautifully descriptive book with a great deal of insight in to the problems of mixing religion and politics. Sensitively written and very thought provoking this is a great book for a book club to get their teeth in to.


The Solitude of Emperors by David Davidar

Suffocating in the small-town world of his parents, Vijay is desperate to escape to the raw energy of Bombay in the early 1990s. His big chance arrives unexpectedly when the family servant Raju is recruited by a right wing organization. As a result of an article he writes about the increasing power of sectarian politicians, Vijay gets a job in a small Bombay publication, The Indian Secularist. There he meets Rustom Sorabjee - the inspirational founder of the magazine who opens Vijay's eyes to the damage caused to the nation by the mixing of religion and politics. A year after his arrival in Bombay, Vijay is caught up in violent riots that rip though the city, a reflection of the upsurge of fundamentalism everywhere in the country. He is sent to a small tea town in the Nilgiri mountains to recover, but finds that the unrest in the rest of India has touched this peaceful spot as well, specifically a spectacular shrine called The Tower of God, which is the object of political wrangling. He is befriended by Noah, an enigmatic and colourful character who lives in the local cemetery and quotes Pessoa, Cavafy, and Rimbaud but is ostracised by a local elite obsessed with little more than growing their prize fuchsias. As the discord surrounding the local shrine comes to a head, Vijay tries to alert them to the dangers, but his intervention will have consequences he could never have foreseen.


`He has a keen eye for detail, and an elegant turn of phrase. This is a daring novel that engages with Indian realities: it looks sectarian violence and intolerance in the eye, and does not turn away' Soumya Bhattacharya, THE INDEPENDENT

'Davidar's commitment to his message is admirable' Fatema Ahmed, THE GUARDIAN

'Davidar is a true novelist, delighted by details, interested in allowing his characters to reveal themselves. In short it's a novel of feeling as well as of ideas, and a delightful and thoroughly satisfying one.' Allan Massie, THE SCOTSMAN

About the Author

David Davidar

David Davidar was born in South India into a military family in 1958. He was educated in India and at Harvard and is now publisher of Penguin Canada and based in Toronto.

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Book Info

Publication date

29th May 2008


David Davidar

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Orion Publishing Co




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