The Solitude of Emperors By David Davidar

Cross posted at Bookreviews at Bookrack.

This was once again a book, that came recommended by several in the blog world. I wanted to read The House of Blue Mangoes first, but got hold of this one first.

Vijay is a young man, in a small town K— in Tamilnadu, and is desperate to escape from the small town living. His father encourages him to write about the rise of religious fundamentalism in India, after their family servant Raju ran away to help build a temple. He wrote an article, which was partially made up and edited with his father’s help. It got rejected from most newspapers and magazines, but managed to catch the interest of Rustom Sorabjee, who was the proprietor and founder of The Indian Secularist.

Rustom Sorabjee is passionate  about the Indian method of Secularism, where we learn to live by and tolerate those of other faiths and he is also very concerned about the rise of religious fundamentalism which threatens India’s seclarism. He is impressed by Vijay and is given a job in his newspaper in Bombay. Vijay grabs at it, only too happy to escape from his small town life. He is having a happy, normal existence in Bombay, when in his fervour to report on the riots in Bombay, he witnesses some gruesome scenes, almost loses his life and is badly affected by it.

Rustom Sorabjee, in an effort to help him recover from his ordeal, sends him to a tea plantation in Nilgiris, where he also wants him to cover a story on a Christian Shrine which has some Hindu-Christian dispute related to it.  Vijay meets an enigmatic character Noah, who is very different from anybody he has met before. His ideas, his philosophy, confuses Vijay, and yet, he seems to trust Noah, on some plane.

Vijay is very keen on preventing any sort of religious clash, that might impact the shrine. He manages to gather enough information that leads him to believe that there is some sort of attack planned on the shrine. His warnings go unnoticed, or dismissed by most of the prominent personalities in the village.

Getting personally and emotionally involved, he sets into motion some things, which could not be reversed.

It was an interesting read, although I felt the that the book lost momentum in some places. Noah’s characterization was done very well. The author does a beautiful job in showing how circumstances and conditions motivate different people, in different ways.

It was a very thought provoking read and I would give it a 3 on 5.

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24 thoughts on “The Solitude of Emperors By David Davidar

  1. the cover of the book is interesting..:-) and thank you for these reviews, you are making it easy for me decide which one to read next! I guess I will pass this one but The House of Blue Mangoes seems to be favored by all, it should be my next read. I am currently reading The Help by kathryn stocket and I am loving the book so much that I don’t want it to finish 🙂

    Oh wow! I will see if I can find The Help 🙂 Do share your reads too, Sandhya, I love to hear about books 🙂

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  2. Presant Miiiis!
    Somehow, after reading the review, I don’t quite feel like reading the book.
    Please please please don’t get me wrong. I think your review is perfectly balanced, its just the book/plot that doesn’t interest me!
    And that only goes to show that you have done a good job of writing the review 🙂
    ***Runs before Smitha gets wild***

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      • Gosh, I cannot , simply cannot read a book that has no pictures 🙄 🙄 Thanks for the warning Smitha 🙂 Btw, I just got two more books that you’d reviewed, from the library. Lemme see if I have the brains (er, I mean, patience) to read them….

        HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe you can make a quick detour to London?

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        • Am totally with Pal on this one. What with the daily riots I go through at home 😥 ….can’t stand to read such stuffs as of now. My brain can simply not take it. What I need is a book that talks about chocolates and Depp…sigh…let me go and read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory again.

          Smiths I liked the blue mango book too and one last time I am asking you “HAVE YOU EVER READ SHANTARAM?” phew….u better answer me this time 😡

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          • I already replied to this looooong back saksh! I have not and this lib does not have it. Will buy it this time in india. Dying to read it!

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  3. Smits, as you know I have this huge pile of books to finish! But I like this review, will surely pick it up once I’m done reading my current collections 🙂

    🙂 I am reading too much these days – have 3 more books to review and I seem to have no time to write it up 🙂

    So you’ve started doing exclusive book-review for other websites too? Excellent,yar! I’m not surprised though..you review books really well 🙂

    Thanks loads, Deeps 🙂

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  4. oh i love this one better than house of blue mangoes….

    i was blown away by Noah… what a character its very rare that character of that strength are formed

    I really liked Noah’s character – I liked Blue Mangoes too – I actually like Blue Mangoes a little more, I think 🙂

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