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The Temple-Goers

2.8  ·  Rating Details ·  224 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
A young man returns home to Delhi after several years abroad and resumes his place among the city's cosmopolitan elite - a world of fashion designers, media moguls and the idle rich. But everything around him has changed - new roads, new restaurants, new money, new crime - everything, that is, except for the people, who are the same, only maybe slightly worse. Then he ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 27th 2010 by Viking (first published March 5th 2010)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jan 26, 2013 Elaine rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
This is basically a default 3, because I felt many of this book's subleties and observations were inaccessible to me, and not meant for me, and that therefore I am not well positioned to judge it. The Temple-Goers is a very detailed exploration of the interplay of class and caste in contemporary India, and while the dynamics of class, new money and old, poverty and mobility, are universal enough, the Temple-Goers explores several uniquely Indian phenomena-- including the important role of caste, ...more
Kiran Watwani
Jan 15, 2015 Kiran Watwani rated it really liked it
It's like The Temple Goers is the question Taseer contemplates and answers in The Way Things Were. I definitely see the growth between the two and having read the recent release first I was oddly proud of him.. to see where he'd grown from. His references, the way he contextualizes things by attaching them to milestones in our recent history. It's like an all nighter with an old friend. In fact it IS an all nighter (because I get so immersed in his books) with a peer... because I think Open ...more
Saif Hasan
May 08, 2010 Saif Hasan rated it it was ok
Extremely disappointed. What new voice are we talking about? The language is self-conscious, the plot and sensibility borrowed. Apart from two rivetting moments this one is a prtentious loser.
Jul 27, 2011 Achab_ rated it really liked it
Shelves: litt-eng, litt-autre
After reading the prologue I was not really convinced by the book and thought that it might not be very interesting to read. But I changed my mind after starting the first chapter. Aatish Taseer brings us with him in his discovering of modern India, from the cast system to the violence and riots we're following his double in the book, named after him. Aatish meets Aakash. And here starts his plunging into real India, not the India of tourists or the one of english-speaking indians like Aatish. ...more
Apr 03, 2011 Jane rated it liked it
From reading the synopsis on the back cover of the book (see above), I was expecting a story that would keep me interested and pace along at a reasonable rate. I was disappointed. You did get a flavour for the divide between the rich and poor, the corruption and the caste system. But it did not delve deep enough. I did not like the characters, which were in my opinion rather shallow. The narrator (the author himself) reads as weak and easily persuaded, his girlfriend Sanyogita is highly strung ...more
Marthe Bijman
Sep 21, 2013 Marthe Bijman rated it liked it
In this skilful debut, Taseer dumps his readers headlong into the exotic, teeming morass that is Delhi, India, where every aspect of modern life is constrained and permeated by the ancient and rigid caste system. Aatish, a wealthy, naïve novelist, gets involved in the seamy, low-caste world of Aakash, a good-looking but malevolent gym trainer. Their supposed friendship ends with a murder which represents the dark, violent core of India and Indian society’s condemnation of those who get ideas ...more
Gautam Kamath
Dec 09, 2016 Gautam Kamath rated it liked it
Loved the clear realistic writing. Can identify with much of what taseer feels when confronted with some of the contradictions of India. The blurb made this sound like a murder mystery, which is why I wasn't very pleased when my wife picked it up for me knowing my fondness for indian writing. The book turns out to be much deeper than that, and the murder is just incidental to a larger story of caste and class differences in an India that's difficult to love or hate.
Harleen Arneja
Jul 15, 2013 Harleen Arneja rated it really liked it
Eloquently written, it is a treat to read Aatish Taseer's gripping juxtaposing of the "old" and the "new" Delhi.
Jan 07, 2014 Bharti rated it it was amazing
The story definitely shows one face of the magnanimous Delhi.
Karnail Singh
Oct 16, 2016 Karnail Singh rated it it was ok
Very average.
George Ilsley
Sep 02, 2010 George Ilsley rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, india
I can see why reviews are mixed for this book. It is not the typical novel from India, more "White Tiger" than "A Fine Balance". At times a harsh depiction of caste, class, corruptions and morals, The Temple-Goers is a completely contemporary take on multifaceted India. Much detailed exploration of homo-social behavior (homo-social, not homosexual, although that is also touched on) which probably confuses western readers who have never seen guys walking down the street in India with linked ...more
Dora Okeyo
Aug 16, 2015 Dora Okeyo rated it liked it
There were a lot of things happening in this book. In a way, I am glad it was written in the first voice because then I could relate to Aatish (who is the narrator).
He returns to Delhi and finds himself delving into the past while in the present trying to reconcile the good and the downright ugly. He experiences India through his new friend Aakash and the discrimination based on caste and the injustice and corruption.

The pace calls for patience. You could mistake Aatish's observations for fool
Natasha G
May 07, 2014 Natasha G rated it did not like it
Taseer tries to gauge the pulse of what he thinks of as the 'real' India - the India of the autowallahs - polished over with effort in his upper class lifestyle (read air-conditioned travel, man-friday, etc). The protagonist, Taseer, befriends his gym trainer and lets himself get more than involved in the trainer's life (at one stage relaxing in a hot tub in their birthday suits).

The problem with Taseer's writing is that he does not succeed in his motive. While the book falls in the White Tiger
Khwab Sanghvi
Jul 23, 2011 Khwab Sanghvi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely senseless book. The author is extremely confused and more than a fictional story the books seems like a day in the boring life of the author. It disjointedly moves from a writer's dilemma to random moral questions about religion. added to this confusion is homosexuality. You never realize whether the author wants to talk about how homosexual experiences cause emotional turmoil in an individual or whether it is just a peripheral aspect of the story. If the former is the actual motive ...more
Feb 14, 2016 Dominic rated it liked it
In some ways a contemporary version of 'Midnight's Children', The Temple Goers is an engaging and sensual look at modern day India, as its struggles to come to terms with modernity while still hanging on to gender, caste and religious norms. Taseer's prose does a really great job of focusing on small details to get a point across--the result is a vivid and occasionally disturbing read.

The problem is that in his subject matter, Taseer faces some stiff competition from some of the best writers of
Nicola Hearn
May 02, 2013 Nicola Hearn rated it it was amazing
I wrote the review below and then had to change my rating because I described the book to my husband and afterwards he said "it sounds like a great book". And it's true, I just hadn't realised till then how much I'd enjoyed it.

Like another reader, I also felt there were large parts of this book that were inaccessible to me, either because I did not understand Indian culture enough or because I was missing some significance of certain descriptions...on the other hand I felt like I got a little in
It was fascinating to be introduced to the Delhi of current times through the eyes of the author, a person who loves the city. His self absorption when it comes to his relationship with his girlfriend, his magnetic attraction to Aakash, his trainer, a young man on the make who always lands on his feet, the games of power, wealth and politics as seen through his sometimes innocent, sometimes cynical eyes, and his love and respect for his Urdu teacher, an elderly, poor, dignified poet Zafar, make ...more
Saurabh Bhowal
Dec 07, 2012 Saurabh Bhowal rated it it was ok

Am confused. I liked the fluid writing in parts, the sexual confusion of the writer was also well put and the pages kept me glued with aatish and aakash, but the other characters were too stereotypical and under developed. As a reader something seemed missing and that's where the book fails. I want to read more and more of Tasseer though.
Sep 18, 2011 Manish rated it did not like it
Totally disappointed with this debut fiction novel by Aatish Taseer. A budding writer gets 'involved' with the personal life of his gym trainer resulting in him losing his own girlfriend's trust. The involvement includes sex, liquor, parties and finally a murder too. Boring stuff!
Aug 13, 2013 Radhika rated it did not like it
The author wants to talk about a lot of changes happening or that have happened in India but the writing is very ordinary. I wasn't involved with the book at any level. Honestly, I had much high expectations!
Maneesha Chadha
Jan 17, 2014 Maneesha Chadha rated it it was ok
Having read his earlier book, I was expecting a lot more from the author. Unfortunately this one sounds very much like the various other books that portray a divided india, hypocrisies in society etc.
Jul 31, 2012 Vinita rated it it was ok
Absolutely nothing special about it and it in fact disappointed me in its depiction of Delhi - very predictable. I did not like this book at all.
Jan 03, 2013 Shrenik rated it liked it
a gifted writer who despite writing in the first person seemed uninvolved and therefore I found the book uninvolving!
Gauri Parab
Jan 28, 2016 Gauri Parab rated it liked it
A good read. Starts off slow but speeds up midway. One can tell its one of his earlier books and you can sense how he might progress into a better writer two books later. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Sep 06, 2012 Ajit rated it liked it
The reviews were a bit over the top but still worth reading. A good narrative of the changing social, political scene in India
Ananta Pathak
Jul 07, 2015 Ananta Pathak rated it really liked it
though the book in some delves into some mundane descriptions not justified in storyline, but it is an honest attempt to understand the new cosmopolitan india with its remarkable characters
Vikas Datta
Oct 29, 2013 Vikas Datta rated it liked it
Penetrating account, and - at times - a brutal indictment of modern Indian society and norms... the naming conventions could have been better though
Anne Scawthorn
Feb 14, 2011 Anne Scawthorn rated it liked it
Has a lot of work to do before coming close to the many great books concerning Indian culture that abound.
Sachin rated it it was amazing
Jul 02, 2014
Ray rated it did not like it
Jun 07, 2016
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Aatish Taseer has worked as a reporter for Time Magazine and has written for the Sunday Times, the Sunday Telegraph, the Financial Times, Prospect, TAR Magazine and Esquire. He is the author of Stranger to History: a Son's Journey through Islamic Lands (2009) and a highly acclaimed translation Manto: Selected Stories (2008). His novel, The Temple-Goers (2010) was shortlisted for the 2010 Costa ...more
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