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The Last Song Of Dusk

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  891 ratings  ·  108 reviews
Set in colonial India, this novel follows the fortunes of Anuradha, whose fabled beauty is such that the peacocks of Udaipur gather to bid her farewell as she journeys to meet her groom, Vardhmaan, in Bombay. Written in Technicolour, Bollywood prose, this novel pirouettes between laughter and heartbreak.
Hardcover, 298 pages
Published January 1st 2004 by George Weidenfeld & Nicholson (first published December 31st 2003)
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A book that stands close to being a classic.. reading it is like listening to a melody on your vintage gramophone slowly dissolving in your thoughts and still lost as the record ends and the silence becomes a song too. It is one of those books you should never read again, because you would never feel what you felt the first time.

A masterpiece from an author who comes across sensitive and close to the feelings of his characters. He convinces you that Life is nothing but a series of tragedies, so
Lilly G
Lucky me, I got an advance copy of this book. I read it in maybe 3 days following (and only that long because I had to work!) I had rolled my eyes when I read the comparisons reviewers had made to Salman Rushdie and Arundhati Roy. But he nails it- making the writing of THE LAST SONG OF DUSK arguably more accessible than the works of either.

I am getting ready to reread this one (I NEVER reread. That's how much I liked it), so re-review to come!
This book is odd to me, because it's lushly written-- I can smell the frangipani that Anuradha braids into her hair, hear the peacocks screeching, taste the dust that rises as the rickshaws trundle down the street-- but at the same time the lushness convolutes and confuses. The author, Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi, has a true talent for description, but sometimes he loses control of himself and indulges in prose that becomes positively violet (especially in the sex scenes with all the phallic wor ...more
I am not sure how I actually liked this book. All I can say is after certain portions, I couldn't keep the book down maybe because the burden was just too unbearable. 'In this life, my love, expect no mercy', this kept ringing in my head and I started relating it to my own life.
Extremely well written. I did adore every single line and passage in the book. But still I don't know how to rate this one, whether I liked it or not. So leaving it unrated.
Easily one of the best books I've ever read, the author combines history and fantasy so seamlessly. Reading this book was like falling in love. When I was done I wanted to hug and kiss my children, call my friends and family to tell them how much I loved them, and have a good romp with my dog, however as it was something like 3am when I finished I opted to go to sleep instead, lest I be thought of as a lunatic.......or more of a lunatic.
Warning!!!! This book may not be for everybody. I loved it. Newsweek calls it "an erotic tale of love and loss, loaded with magical realism" I couldn't have said it better. It is very sensual, not to be confused with sexual. So romantic, tragic, lovely.
Read like a poem - the story was out of this world; the writing was a dream to read and the author was only 26 when he wrote this his debut novel. Impressive on all counts and the perfect take-along book to my yoga retreat in Guatemala.
Nisrin Aziz
Finally, a book that makes me pause, lean back and disappear into thought. Every sentence is poetry.
Jacq Jardin
beautifully written. erotic. sad. compelling. colorful.

a story about an Indian family, the people around them, and the many different ways they deal with love, loss, betrayal, abuse, and grief. packed with colorful characters that are both charming and annoying at the same time, it is a tale certainly worth reading. a nice blend of magical realism and history. and the pace kept me forever on the edge of my seat (or bed, should i say). i finished reading it overnight. it isn't light on the emotio
Rhea Roy
There is a wicked step mother, a haunted house, a parrot that mouths obscenities, a young girl who comes from a linage of women who have supposedly copulated with leopards in the past, a handsome prince and a beautiful princess. Despite the surreal characters and story, The Last Song of the Dusk doesn't border on bizarre or seem fairy tale like-ish. The magical abilities of the characters is something that that author probably doesn't want his readers to take just too literally. They merely prov ...more
If you read this book, don't judge. And you will know what I mean if you do decide to read this. It was recommended to me by one of the employees at my usual airport bookstore.

I really did enjoy the read. It is a sad and eloquent story about love, loss, and relationships - however bizarre they might be. Though I didn't always agree with what the characters decided, I did sympathize with them.

And of course how could I forget the most important part of reading this book -I learned more about Ind
Chinmay Maheshwari
I never expected to be mesmerized by any Indian novel and even go as far as being proud of it! This is a classic mix of traditional Indian folklore and modern English novel writing. The characters even though having modern touches on surface, have deeper classical Indian roots. There's healing raaga's on one end, and fancy Mumbai cocktail parties on the very next page. Author never lets go of your attention, with amazingly vivid characters like Nandini, calls to your inner child with the melodio ...more
Oct 05, 2014 Hrishi rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hrishi by: Jithin Mohan
What a book !!
Fabulous book. Beautifully written. I am still shocked a man wrote in such a deep insightful way about the life of a woman.
This book is now in my top 10 of all time!
It is hard to believe that this is the author's first book. The book is set in the India of 1920's and anything set in history gets me interested, especially when it involves a bit of magical fantasy. Sometimes I flip through a page or two before I decide to read a new book. As soon as I read two paragraphs, knew that this one should be read.

Anuradha Gandharva, an educated girl from Rajasthan, is set to leave for Bombay to marry a man she has not met yet. Anuradha's beauty is sublime, the humble
Shilpi Jain
One word for this debut novel which won all those awards- brilliant. Set in 1930's India in the backdrop of the Raj, this is a story about Anuradha and Vardhamaan, their love, their loss, and redemption. The small mercies, the big love, the solace of just being with that one person yet the yearning for what's left behind. The story of rebellious Nandini Hariharan, the witty, water-walking, love-hating painter who Sherman is hopelessly in love with. The story of Kahil Muratta and Libiya Dass and ...more
Sundarraj Kaushik
A bad read. One simple recommendation AVOID reading and AVOID wasted time and frustrated times.
The book is about a beautiful lady from Rajasthan who marries a handsome doctor based in Mumbai. She as hag as her step mother-in-law. She loses her first son in an accident which the step mother-in-law takes full advantage of and blames her for all the problems in the house. The lady leave for her maternal house in a huff and refuses to come back to live under the same roof with the step mother-in-law
I remember really liking this book, though I remember nothing about it. I came across some notes I took on a bookmark, with three excellent quotes from its pages. I share them with you. Maybe I'll reread the book!

The most defining characteristic of love is that it must be longed for. (p115)

The memory of happiness is as heartbreaking as its absence. (p204)

We're all dying, A... the really tough bit is living. (p199)
Tabish Irshad
When I first read this book, I was like transcended into the charismatic semblance contrived by it. It was like living a chimera. It is one of those books which you never covet to end and also the one which you crave to live. It has melodrama, history, magical realism, eroticism ; what else one could expect from a book. The language used is like poetry and Shanghvi's insight into human sentiments is beyond imagination.
Pooja Wanpal
The last song of dusk is one of those novels that you 'know'. We are intimately familiar with the dark haired Anuradha, her husband, Vardhmaan, and the wild child Nandini. In a country like India, where magic is inseparable from 'reality', the matter-of-fact way, in which Shanghvi treats the 'unusual' is refreshing.

The thread of magic realism brings together the entire story beautifully. I was reminded of Salman Rushdie's books - a faint echo, nothing more, because Shanghvi's evocative (sometim
Emma Gregory
A novel written with such beauty, characters with heartbreaking sadness a story of loves lost, loves found and lost again. It is 1920's India and four extraordinary lives come together as their fates unravel and they learn to negotiate the ever changing path of Destiny. The story at times is told with sartorial wit that made me laugh out loud, erotic passion that made me hope no one was watching the expressions on my face and above all a magical piece of storytelling. One to keep on the shelf fo ...more
Shangvi's reflections on love and loss are tender and moving. The mystical infusion of history into space, and the attendant way in which places become characters, is inspiring and captivating. The prose is luscious, if sometimes heavy-handed and lacking in subtlety. The style is similar to Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things, which is my favorite novel of all time, so I was glad to experience it. The Last Song of Dusk lacks Roy's urgent sense of ethics and politics intertwined with tragedy, ...more
Tripti Chouhan
One rarely likes a book that is capable of irritating the reader at numerous instances. But then it also exhilarates the soul with the way it explores love, loss, death, heartbreak, indifference and almost everything life is capable of throwing at you. Siddharth Dhanvant Sanghvi's writing is astonishingly powerful and makes it impossible for the reader to stay detached while Anuradha and Vardhaman's life takes bewildering twists and turns. Some of the minor characters are outrageous and therefor ...more
Tina Birdsall
I absolutely love this book. The prose is beautiful. It is written in such a way that the reader is brought into the text and becomes a part of the moving story. This is a go to over and over again book for me.
I am in two minds about this book. There is some lovely writing in this and it is worth reading but firstly, I do not like books that tell you what is going to happen. Aso, I rather felt that the author was not certain what direction the book was going in: what story did he want to tell and what genre was he going to use. But worth reading, although it may irritate you.
Poetic. Magical. His narrative style swept me away to a place fraught with an understanding of being here, being centered, being . . . being one with one's fate.

The Last Song of Dusk is set in 1920s India, amongst the elite of the colonial and colonized set. Artists and parvenus, elite young women whose husbands are arranged . . . how does love come to those partners in an arranged marriage? Erotic sex, occasionally depraved sex, permeates the book. Tragic losses, great primordial rip tides of
I always feel even happier when I discover that a random book I pick up could stir so much in me. Sanghvi's style is lyrical like Seth, dark like Murakami but this story is his own art...almost like a painting. This book is a must read. It's not easy, it's not light though it may come across as that. But when you turn the last page, you realise that the pit of your stomach feels distinctly strange. Is such a pity that the man has chosen not to write again...he could have gone a long way. But per ...more
I didn’t like the plot. The females were obviously written by a man and very stereotyped – angel, nymphomania, bitch.
Mansi Kapur
Haunting and penetrating in snatches, opaque in others, but mostly enduring, especially the characters.
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Shanghvi was born in Juhu, Mumbai, India in 1977. He is an alumnae of Mumbai’s Mithibai College, and later pursued an MA in International Journalism at the University of Westminster, London, where he specialised in Photography in 1999.
He is an Indian author in English-language whose notable books include, The Last Song of Dusk and The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay. His book, The Last Song of Dusk, has
More about Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi...
The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay La fille qui marchait sur l'eau

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“Love is bigger than us. So we confuse ourselves over it.And of course, its vastness overwhelms. But then that is the only lesson in life.How to love. How to love well, with a detached eye but a concerned hand.How to understand and surrender to its countless contradictions. Most importantly, though, how to never stop loving.” 14 likes
“Even love comes with its own season.. and relationships with their own kismets.They start through us, and then love loves through us. And when the give-and-take between two individuals is over, the relationship fades. Like a fruit that must fall from the bough if it is to carry its life into its next avatar. There is nothing more critical than to exercise the generosity to let something end with the grace it started with.” 10 likes
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