Set against the brilliantly drawn backdrop of India at the turn of
the millennium, "The Alchemy of Desire" tells the story of a young
couple, penniless but gloriously in love. Obsessed with each other,
they move from a small town to the big city, where the man, who
dreams of being a writer, works feverishly on a novel, stopping
only to feed his ceaseless desire for his beautiful wife.
A chance occurrence allows the lovers to abandon the city for a
mist-shrouded spur of the lower Himalayas and move into a sprawling
old house, which they hope will embody their love. At first they
pursue their deep physical need with a reckless intensity. But
during renovations of the house, a set of diaries written by the
original inhabitant--a glamorous American adventuress--is
unearthed, and the narrator finds himself irresistibly drawn away
from his wife and thrust into another world and time, into the hole
of history. As his life and love fall apart, he slowly begins to
uncover the dark secrets at the heart of her story, until the
shocking truth is laid bare and all certainties are overturned.
Inventive, playful, heartbreaking, brimming with ideas and
memorable characters, "The Alchemy of Desire" celebrates the
chaotic spirit of a country during a time of great change. It also
offers, in searing, lucid prose, a deeply sensual and moving
meditation on the nature of desire, history, truth, and art. This
is a major novel by one of the most significant new voices of his
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