Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The Sunset Club by Khushwant Singh: A Review


By John Cheeran

Few consider Khushwant Singh as a great writer. He has been an agent provocateur, raconteur and a celebrated editor in India. Singh writes without pomposity and that’s the hallmark of his success as a writer.
Even in the autumn of his life the Sardar’s zest for life is undiminished and The Sunset Club is further proof for that. The Sunset Club, tagged as analects of the year 2009, chronicles the friendship of three oldies – a Hindu, a Sikh and a Muslim – but are commentaries on contemporary India, especially between January 26, 2009 and January 26, 2010.
It does not take great effort on your part to realize that Sardar Boota Singh is Khushwant Singh himself. At one point Nawab Barkatullah Baig Dehlavi tells his wife about Boota “He is good company. He spices his talk with anecdotes, quotations and improper language. One can never tell how much of what he says is true, but it doesn’t matter. I enjoy listening to him.”
Readers, too, enjoy listening to Khushwant Singh. Through the discussions among the three friends Singh subtly reveals where his sympathies lie. Singh has only contempt for ‘fundoos’ and turncoats such as Najma Heptullah are subjected to ridicule.
Yes, improper language punctuates the pages of The Sunset Club. Singh has tried to keep the old men’s bench at Lodhi Gardens warm throughout the pages mainly by the sexual exploits of bachelor Punjabi brahmin Sharma, Baig and Boota. But those exploits are too simple to arouse the reader’s interest and only the portrait of contemporary India that forces you to finish the book. Yes, old age and infirmity lurks in the background but it is the recollections of the youth and hope for the next day that is remarkable about the Sunset. And despite the departure of Baig and Sharma, it is hope that makes Boota gaze upon Bara Gumbad and feel that it still does resemble the fully rounded bosom of a young woman.

Title: The Sunset Club
Author: Khushwant Singh
Publisher: Penguin Viking (2010)
Pages: 218
Price: 399

6 comments:

rohit said...

Must be an enjoyable read Sunset Club by Khushwant Singh . loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and orignal, this book is going in by "to read" list.

rohit said...

Must be an enjoyable read Sunset Club by Khushwant Singh . loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and orignal, this book is going in by "to read" list.

arvind madan said...

I am a big fan of khushwant singh, I dint know that this book had released . As soon as i can afford to buy this book i will read it.
Arvind
bangalore
arvindam@rediffmail.com

arvind madan said...

I am a big fan of khuswant singh right now i am reading his autobiography. Its such a great experience to read about khuswant how honest he is , how much he has been to his frnds, how much he values time , I personally have implemented some in my life. I dint know sunset club was released right now i am not in a position to afford buying it once I read it , I will be back with my reviews . With best wishes to khuswant for his health and good wishes to john cheeran, and the publishers should come up with a book on the articles he had written long back in dailies both indian and foreign- penguin pls make it a reality. bbye
Arvind M

Divenita said...

Was adding this book in my book give away when i found this review.
Liked it and linked it too.

You can check book give away here:nnivedita.com/portfolio/book-ed

Divenita said...

Nice review. Stumbled upon after checking out for a review for my book give away.
Please check this link::nivedita.com/portfolio/book-ed

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