Noon

by Aatish Taseer (Picador) ISBN: 9780330540414 R189, 00

 

When a book is endorsed by V.S. Naipul it raises high expectations, but Noon was not as unforgettable and compelling as I hoped it would be.

 

The novel describes four episodes of the narrator’s life from 1989 to 2011.

 

The first portrays Rehan living with his squabbling mother and grandmother.

The second is about a glamorous dinner party in honour of the Rajamata, who humiliates the host by arriving late. The wealthy nouveau riche plans his revenge years later.

The third part depicts a burglary and Rehan’s effort to identify the suspect amongst his servants. He struggles morally and attempts to analyse the behaviour of his employees.

In the last chapter Rehan is trying to find a place amongst his stepbrothers in the dysfunctional family, but only encounters corruption, blackmail and violence.

 

Taseer makes the political tension in India and Pakistan tangible, but the book would have worked better as a collection of short stories. I missed the coherency and flow of the storyline; it lacks a narrative that brings the stories together.

 

I found Taseer’s perspective on a menacing world and the apocalyptic scenes in the last chapter the best things in the book.

 

Taseer was shortlisted for the 2010 Costa First Novel Award for a previous book.

 

Pauline Vijverberg

3/5

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