The Last Song of Dusk

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Product Details

Arcade Publishing
Publish Date
November 01, 2016
5.5 X 0.9 X 8.2 inches | 0.7 pounds
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About the Author

Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi, a born and bred Bombaywallah, was educated in India, England, and America. A past contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle and Elle, he divides his time between the San Francisco Bay Area and Bombay.


A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2004

A San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller

Winner of a Betty Trask Award for Debut Novel

A 2006 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award Finalist

"A lively debut gives vivid magical-realist form to the necessity of loving others--and the sorrows to which doing so exposes us. Shanghvi's warm, witty omniscient narrative voice gets the story off to a dazzling start. . . . The gorgeous atmosphere and verbal trappings make this wonderful novel as insistently readable as it is--particularly in its moving final pages--immensely satisfying. Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Hari Kunzru et al. need to make room on the podium. Booker judges should pay attention too." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"The vibrant, lush, and sometimes chaotic backdrop of post-colonial India has become fertile ground for a burgeoning circle of Indian novelists that Shanghvi now joins. His first novel blends biting social commentary with a sprawling family saga . . . In a narrative laced with poetic imagery, Shanghvi juxtaposes political commentary with magical realism, Bollywood's excesses with Gandhi's austerity. Part fairy tale, part satire, part love story--all come together in a marvelously inventive debut." --Booklist

"In his first novel, Bombay-born Shanghvi carves a magic realism-tinged niche for himself between Salman Rushdie and Arundhati Roy. . . . A sensual, delectable debut." --Publishers Weekly

"An impressive debut . . . It opens like a fairy tale. . . . The novel remains a love story told with wit, even ribald humor, wrapped in a magic realism to rival Gabriel Garcรญa Mรกrquez. Shanghvi enchants readers with delectable images and sensual scenes. From Arundhati Roy to Jhumpa Lahiri to Kiran Desai, India has produced outstanding fiction of late, and this exemplary first novelist will easily hold his own among them. Highly recommended." --Library Journal

"A vividly imagined story . . . Magic realism and a fairy tale meet and merge in a swirl of colorful, outrageous storytelling that has rightfully put the fledgling novelist on the literary map. . . . Shanghvi--who's been compared to Arudhati Roy, Zadie Smith, and Vikram Seth--combines ribald humor with prose poetry, rich sensuality with social politics, and tall tales with enduring human truths in this epic story of a family in 1920s Bombay. . . . Shanghvi paints a weeping, hue-saturated picture . . . more with a loose and lucid language. His timeless love story is sometimes hilarious, frequently sad, and mostly fantastical. From the flash of Bollywood to the sweetness of meditative solitude, Dusk pours out a cornucopia of life at full tilt and high color." --Oregonian

"Is he the next Arundhati Roy, or Salman Rushdie version 7.0, or Zadie Smith crossed with Vikram Seth? In the end, The Last Song of Dusk might evoke whiffs of all of them, but the book is nobody's love child but Shanghvi's--lush, witty, and eventually achingly sad. . . . [Written in] eye-popping, sassy prose . . . The Last Song of Dusk moves like a carnival ride. . . . Shanghvi is a literary rock star. . . . A lush, wildly imaginative fairy tale, The Last Song of Dusk blazes with erotica, floats on magical-realist flights, and unravels a fever of images that read as if they were coaxed through dreams or hallucinogens. . . . Such an impressive first novel, so sensuous in language and bold in its willingness to risk excess." --San Francisco Chronicle

"A gorgeous novel . . . written with a youthful, twinkling eye." --Los Angeles Times Book Review

"A sweeping love story that will stay with you even after you turn the final page." --Asian Week

"A magical piece of storytelling set in an India that's full of eccentric characters and colorful, descriptive language." --Sunday Times (London)

"Dazzling in a way that reminded me of Truman Capote's Other Voices, Other Rooms." --John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and City of Falling Angels

"He could be the next Arundhati Roy." --India Today

"A cross between Zadie Smith and Vikram Seth." --Hindustan Times

"Terrific . . . Reminds me of so many great debuts--Salman Rushdie's, of course, but also Kiran Desai, Hari Kunzru." --David Davidar, author of The House of the Blue Mangoes

"A magical debut. Madcap characters shimmy across the pages, throwing out slangy witticisms with insouciant charm. . . . Delicious." --Elle (UK edition)

"What begins as an erotic fairy tale grows into an exploration of love and loss, sexuality and innocence, friendship and solitude. . . . Shanghvi's loose poetic style [is] cut with a dash of magical realism . . . [and his] story has eloquent insights into the nature of love." --Times Literary Supplement

"The new star of Ind Lit." --Calcutta Statesman

"An extravagant, lush tale of love in Bombay." --Bookseller(India)

"[An] exuberant performance, part of the post-magical realist trend in Indo-English fiction--with its fantasy, pastiche, and satire, and tendency to turn every seed of imagination into a towering tree . . . Shanghvi's extravagant prose teems with adjectives, adverbs [and] personifications." --The Independent

"This is a modern fairy tale about love and kismet that touches all the senses." --Company Magazine (UK)

"A gently magical taste of India." --Mirror

"You can't help but fall in love with each character in this sweeping, epic tale . . . The novel is beautifully paced, exploring huge themes--fate, death, lasting love, vengeance, ambition, acceptance and--via tiny moments--the trickiness of life. The author twists words mercilessly, his choice of language veering between delicate beauty and raucous irreverence. And there's some extraordinarily fantastic, surprising writing about sexual organs: read it and weep." --INK

"The magical tale of an Indian family dealing with love, loss and long forgotten secrets." --Heat

"A mixture of magical-realism, tragic-comedy, and prose poetry, this debut novel sweeps readers into a tale as old as time, populated by eccentrically beautiful characters . . . A sure shot on the best-seller list." --Good Book Guide

"A promising debut novel, The Last Song of Dusk is a vivid picture of love and loss in colonial India." --The List

"The recent spate of magic-realism novels by writers with one foot in the Raj has been an engaging cultural seam . . . Shanghvi offers a little something extra . . . Like Kunzru, Shanghvi places his characters in historically auspicious circumstances, as if the voice of modernity has entered a time machine." --i-D magazine

"A literary sensation." --India Currents

"Written in Technicolor, with all the sights and smells of India, The Last Song of Dusk is a witty and achingly sad book by a talented young debut novelist. The colorful characters steal your heart and transport you to a magical world. The book reads like a carnival ride--it's about colonization, love, karma, tragedy, and the strength of the human spirit. . . . Stunning prose and storytelling. The Last Song of Dusk is a refreshingly original tale of fate, love and tragedy . . . that pirouettes between laughter and heartbreak." --Out Smart

"Lush . . . an erotic tale of love and loss, loaded with magical realism. . . . The aching wisdom in this meditation on love truly satisfies."
--Newsweek (Asian edition)

"Shanghvi's lyrical first novel, The Last Song of Dusk, is a major achievement: It's impishly funny and stunningly wise. Like the arranged marriage at its heart, this steamy fairy tale blossoms into a mind-expanding treasure map for finding redemption in loss, peace despite life's contradictions, and the courage to love and live big." --Tango

"Sumptuously written . . . Always fascinating." --Indo-American News