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Book Review - The Last Song Of Dusk

by Siddharth Dhanvant Shangavi

Winner of the 2004 Betty Trask Award, ‘The last Song of Dusk’ is the debut novel of Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi' a brilliant young writer who seem to be making waves in the literary scene and compared to the likes of Arundhati Roy and Salman Rushdie. The Times Literary Supplement (London) categorized it as “an erotic fairy tale that 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 magic realism…and his story has eloquent insights into the nature of love”


The back cover reads “Pirouetting between laughter and tears, Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi's debut tells the story of four extraordinary lives. Anuradha Gandharva gifted with astonishing beauty and magical songs; of her husband, Vardhmaan, struggling with secret losses; of Nandini, a deviously alluring artist, with a penchant for panthers and walking on water; and of Shloka, the Gandharvas' delicate, disturbingly silent child”.

As their fates unravel in an old villa in 1920s' India, they learn to navigate the ever-changing landscape of love, and in doing so encounter a host of eccentrics: Mr. Bunkusdaas, the father of Bollywood cinema; Stella Dimm, 'England's first ever Tit girl'; Libya Dass, rarely seen out of her porcelain bathtub; and Percival Worthington, the aristocratically limp son of the governor of Bombay, on whom Nandini rashly sets her sights. The Last Song of Dusk has plenty of analogies and you marvel about sentences such as these "the air was bursting with tension, like the navel of a pregnant male sea horse and “Modesty trailed her as the most dignified of chaperones in her candlelight tryst with Destiny." Lush prose dominates in the entire novel interspersed with magic realism.




About the author

Born in Bombay in 1977, Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi was educated in India, England and America. He holds an MA in international journalism and an MS in mass communications, and has worked in the past as a chef, kennel boy and storyteller. He lives in Bombay and Northern California. The Last Song of Dusk is his first novel.

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