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The Pleasure Seekers [Paperback]

Tishani Doshi
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 April 2011

August, 1968: Babo Patel arrives in London from Madras, with curly hair, jhill mill teeth and dreams of becoming a success. When he meets the beautiful, auburn-haired Siân Jones, he falls in love instantly. She, like him, is in search of something bigger than what the home she left behind can offer.

But when Babo's parents learn of his intention to marry 'some girl from God knows where' he is given an ultimatum: he can only marry Siân if they agree to live in Madras for two years before returning to London. As the years pass by, the calamities, quirks and heartaches of first love, lost innocence, and old age unfold across cultures and generations of this mixed-up family in a topsy-turvy world.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks (4 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408809834
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408809839
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 163,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'This is a captivating, delightful novel. I was totally engaged by Tishani Doshi's people and by their world, and the language often rises - when speaking of the great matters, life, death, and above all love - to powerful metaphorical heights' (Salman Rushdie)

'Brimming with tender humour ... the novel dances its people across barriers of race and nation' (Independent)

'Intensely charming ... a seductive and lovable novel: it is about pleasure sought and, more importantly, pleasure found' (Guardian)

'Cross-cultural love story that spans three decades . . . Laced with charm, and instantly familiar, this is top drawer comfort reading' (Financial Times)

Book Description

A sparkling debut about family, belonging and the binding power of love

Longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2011

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have ever read 30 Mar 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic book. Tashani Doshi uses language incredibly skilfully to conjur up the essence of her characters so that, like them or not, you can understand their motivations and get into the guts of this cross-cultural tale. There is such a delicate and clever use of language which instantly conjured up a world of texture, depth and nuance of feeling that I found intriguing. I felt I was in the heart of all the characters.I found it compelling and unpredictable. I did not want to leave this family behind when I finished the book!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful read 30 Sep 2010
By Jane K
I borrowed this book from the library on a whim - having never heard of Tishani Doshi before and I was captivated it. I felt involved in the lives of all the characters - sometimes moved to to tears - although this is by no means a sad book so don't let that put you off. Its an uplifting book and it spoke to me about the tides and times in all our lives, I can certainly relate to it. I was moved by the poetic language used throughout the book- Tishani is an award winning poet in India- and that added to the richness of the text. It beautifully portrayed two different cultures and how magical life affirming green shoots can develop from the blending of them both. I cannot believe Tishani is so young an author- she speaks with the wisdom of an old soul.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seamless writing, memorable novel 2 Dec 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a book to be savoured unhurriedly. It has, in my opinion, an inner quality that comes to light from the beginning, with some graceful poetic "whisper" seeping through the pages, sprinkled here and there (the author's background is poetry). The richness of language is a balm to the eyes and the deriving overall prose is stylish and intense. Never pretentious nor ostentatious though. The narrative flows beautifully, lyrically. The use of certain expressions -i.e. sha-bing, sha-bang, ba-ba-boom, ba-ba-boom, ba-ba-boom-boom-boom- renders some descriptions more vivid, providing even more texture to some circumstances and feelings.

We meet the Patel family, based in Madras, India, in 1968. Babo, the first member of the Patel family to fly out to London for education/business purposes, falls head over heels in love with Sian, a Welsh girl (this is an association/reference to the author's own parents). The love is mutual, but as soon as Babo's parents hear of it, they are distressed and dismayed; with a tricky excuse, Babo is asked to return to India. It is soon clear to all that Babo and Sian cannot bear to be apart and, as soon as this fact is "digested" by both the Indian & Welsh families, love prevails and the two can get married. The story unfolds covering roughly three generations, through different continents, cultures and historical events.

The love uniting Babo and Sian is the narrative path upon which the books is based, placing them as main characters, along with Babo's parents, his brother Chotu and his sweet grandmother Ba and later, their daughters join the picture: Mayuri and Bean. Other characters are more marginal (such as Babo's sisters or Sian's family) but they still find their niche complementing the background as seen fit for a family saga.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a story set in Wales and India 17 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Beautiful story about love and loss and finding what's important in life - characters so vivid and real - loved it !
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Much Pleasure Here. 21 May 2011
At first I thought I was in for a treat. Tishani Doshi uses language very playfully and the book promised authenticity. Unfortunately it appeared to be too solidly grounded in a subjective account of her own parents' cross cultural love story. This fails because she never really manages to escape viewing the couple through the skewed perspective of a daughter. Unable to get under their skins as real, complex people, she instead, offers them up, tongue-in-cheek, as two dimensional caricatures.

After a while the initial charm and humour of the book began to pall. There is, for example, a description of Babo and Sian's marriage going through a bad patch. Babo has trouble with his `Mr Whatsit.' It finally stirs from dormancy when an attractive young woman calls at his door, leading him to re-evaluate his life and embark on a diet. When his almost-estranged wife sees his weight loss she falls madly in love with him again - resulting in a resumption of `sha-bing sha-bang.' This episode was just silly and reflects the shallow tone Doshi adopts in her analysis of their relationship. She seeks to convince you of their lifelong passion, but has an inability to convey emotional depth.

Bean, as the more rebellious but lovable daughter is, I would guess, meant to be a representation of Doshi herself. I'm not claiming she lived Bean's life. Of course it's fiction. Bean goes off the rails but you are meant to warm to her because of her outsider status. I found the descriptions of sex generally problematic. Soon after her first sexual experince Bean reflects about how she later came to see that there was nothing good about`the first boy who put his Whatsit into her Ms Sunshine'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dreamy tale of love & family 27 Dec 2013
By Lorna
I became completely engrossed in this book during a wet & windy Christmas. The book tells us the story of Babo, who moves from his native India to London, where one day he meets Sian, who he falls completely & utterly in love with. We follow the two lovers as they make their way through life during the 1970s and on to the present day. It's really a book about love & family, & the things & people who matter most in this life.
The characters are wonderful, both Babo's & Sian's extended families feature in the book & all become known to us as we go along. Everyone felt real to me & I felt part of their family by the time the book came to a close. I found it to be written in a dreamy kind of prose, which was very easy to read. It's very scenic & I often felt transported from my stormy day to a balmy hot India or an equally dreary North Wales. Others have criticised it, but I quite liked the sha-bing sha-bang type of language as I felt it added to the kitsch 1970s character I felt Babo was. The tone suited him.
The best thing I've read this Christmas holiday.
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