Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Alchemy of Desire (review)


The reason I chose this novel to read, apart from its captivating title, is that one of my Goodreads friends has read it also.
For her it was a while ago, but when my eye finally fell upon this book while visiting the local library and couldn't do anything but pick it up.

Alas, choosing this book and bringing it home with me, didn't have the effect I wished.
Choices are everywhere, and what to read next is sometimes the most difficult.
So, Alchemy of Desire, it had to be patient.

When I finally picked it up, it was so mesmerizing from the start, I almost didn't want to believe it.
Then, and I'm not going to call it bad luck, because the book itself is a gem of another nature, a colleague had given me Congo to read and I put Alchemy aside for a while.
Almost due in the library I began again and was lost immediately.

The Alchemy of Desire is a wonderful, prozaic and emotional book.
It's rarely  that I come across a novel where nothing really happens but the main theme is how someone is feeling. May it be that those kind of novels are amongst my favourites.
And Alchemy of Desire is ranked among them with certainty.

It's filled with wisdom that will make you brain sing with empathy and sorrow. It's filled with pages and pages of spinetingling acts while never becoming rancid or cheap.

The very first paragraph..

“Love is not the greatest glue between two people. Sex is.” 

..striked me where I was most vulnerable.
The first part: Love was harsh, beautiful and most of the times too close for comfort. Amongst lines like “I was still madly in love with her when I left her but the desire had died, and not all the years of sharing and caring and discovering and journeying could keep me from fleeing.” 
I felt like crying, cheering and was confused by what I read.

"The definition of love. Passion and harmony in one person."

Our life is all about desire. Desire for love, money, remembrance. Or desire for itself. Having someone to share you life, body and dreams with.
Tejpal has written a philosophic book of how love and desire can be experienced in the new world filled with so many distractions.
How one desire can be the death of another, all painted against the changing world of a new India.

Without even knowing the name of the man I followed more than a week, pages and pages on, I felt I've never met someone who treated life and nature with so much care and affinity. I wish I could translate my feelings, my wished and dreams in such a clear and crystal voice.

The Alchemy of Desire is not only about love. It's about every kind of desire we humans suffer from.
The desire to be succesful, either in career of dreams.
The desire to not worry about money, to be your own boss.
The desire of having something to desire.

And all these kinds need to be balanced perfectly to be able to sustain themselves. Vultures not allowed to devour each other but to remain forever hungry for more.

It's about praising the gods of reason. It's about praising the gods of irrationality.
It's about keeping the balance between them.


My friend described this book as a perfect circle and with that I'd like to conclude my review.
As everything ending is a beginning, so every beginning starts with an end.

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