July 15, 2011 10:07 pm

Noon

Aatish Taseer gives a portrait of a man coming of age in his father’s shadow

Rehan Tabassum has grown up in Delhi, child of a female lawyer and stepson to a bombastic industrialist. Studying at a US university, the boy seems increasingly out of place in India – more so when he travels to Pakistan to meet his father, an influential businessman, for the first time.

For the follow-up to his widely praised The Temple-Goers, Taseer has written an odd, spiky novel. Told through a series of vignettes that span from the 1980s to the present, Noon is both a portrait of an Indian middle class struggling to define its place, and a study of a young man coming of age in his absent father’s shadow. On neither count is it a comfortable read, crawling with collective and individual self-loathing.

The fine and thoughtful writing owes a debt to VS Naipaul. What is lacking is some of the manic energy of Taseer’s contemporary Aravind Adiga: a relentlessly laconic tone threatens to leave the reader as semi-detached as the narrator.

Noon, by Aatish Taseer, Picador, RRP£12.99, 304 pages

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2014. You may share using our article tools.
Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.

SHARE THIS QUOTE