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The Pleasure Seekers

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  640 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews
Meet the Patel-Joneses-Babo, Sian, Mayuri, and Bean-in their little house with orange and black gates next door to the Punjab Women's Association in Madras. Babo grew up here, but he and Sian, his cream-skinned Welsh love, met in London. Babo's parents disapproved. And then they disapproved unless the couple moved back to Madras. So here they are. And as the twentieth cent ...more
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Published September 1st 2010 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published January 1st 2010)
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The Blurb Radio Show
Review by Bernard Ryan

Isn’t it one of the great joys of reading that via our imaginations we can become immersed in a new culture with all its sights and smells and sounds, its food and music, its beliefs and attitudes….without leaving home? We have spoken before on this program about the recent emergence of novels in English from the once “Asia Minor ”. The Middle Eastern writers have long been around as have authors from equally-exotic Anglophone places such as Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Th
Nov 14, 2015 Cassandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Als der Inder Babo Indien verlässt, um in London zu studieren, ahnt er noch nicht, dass ihm in Gestalt der Waliserin Sian die Liebe seines Lebens begegnet. Eine Liebe, die so wohl in seiner, als auch in ihrer Welt, nicht gerade mit Begeisterung gesehen wird.

Dieses Buch ist eine Liebeserklärung an die Liebe und eine sehr schöne Familiengeschichte. Das Buch beginnt im Jahr 1968 als Babo nach London abreist und endet 2001. Es gibt einen sehr schönen Einblick in das Leben in Indien und in eine Zeit,
Apr 14, 2012 Lester rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lester by: Jessica
Doshi's novel begins as an endearing tale of the realities faced by well-to-do children from India who are left to the cutural and meteorological turbulence of London when they want to pursue furthre studies there. The ensuing story of 'Babo' meeting and falling in love with the Welsh beauty 'Sian', and the cultural accomodation with must take place in order for things to work out, are well thought out and written. But the mystique and interest of the book ended there. Doshi, it seems, wanted to ...more
Jigar Brahmbhatt
I was charmed by this book, charmed by the lovely characters who I felt invested in. For the last two days as I was floating through the BEAUTY-fully crafted pages, I wanted to know more and more about everyone involved, and when the book was finally over I was sad to have not been given a chance to know yet more about them. This is an immediate emotion. It may change after few days. But this is the most sensuous narrative I have come across in a long long time.

The book succeeds in recreating th
Jun 16, 2012 Poonam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
Tishani Doshi re-invents her parents' story in a novel spanning four generations. It is set in Madras of 1960s, and Madras it remains throughout the novel.

Tishani takes a page out of her parents' heritage - a Welsh mother and Gujrati Jain father whose family has always lived in Madras. Babo, the Gujju Jain son goes to study in England (that cliche racism never figures, btw) and meets Sian - a office girl. They fall in love and despite disapproval of their families they marry. Sian leaves and Eng
Nov 12, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is set mostly in Madras, India and spans about thirty years. A young Gujerati man studying abroad in England meets a Welsh girl. They fall deeply in love. How they keep their love strong and stay happy in spite of the odds against them, how they inspire family members with a desire for a similar love, how they do their best to raise their daughters to be happy. Mostly about real family life with its sadness, happiness, and challenges. I really liked it.One of the things I liked best is that i ...more
I enjoyed parts of The Pleasure Seekers—the wry humour, the lyrical writing, the neatly sketched characters—but it failed to come together for me into a satisfying whole. I felt as if Doshi should have either focused more on the first half of the story—that of Babo and Sian's cross-cultural romance—or expanded the book to become a true multigenerational epic. As it is, there's no real structure to the book, no sense of conflict, climax and resolution—there are many mini-conflicts, true, but none ...more
Jul 13, 2011 Elaine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
This book was very pleasant and pleasantly written, and the family situation depicted is certainly interesting. But, but, but. It's too pleasant! The narrative thread is too gentle, with very little dramatic suspense (only the last 5 pages or so) or real character development. There are also too many grandiloquent statements (Love is X. Love is Y. Fill the empty spaces in your life with Love!) that lack real emotional sense or content. There are a few too many characters -- we end up wanting to ...more
This book is a must-read by this Indian poet-turned-author for every Indian-born who went abroad to study and/or married a Westerner. You’ll find it infinitely relatable and full of laugh-out-loud childhood nostalgia from being left out of an elder sibling’s play-time with classmates to reading the Hardy Boys and Enid Blyton.

The story centers around the eldest son of a Gujarati Jain family settled in Madras going abroad to study and work. Once there, he falls in love with a Welsh girl whom he ma
Mar 06, 2014 Bettie☯ rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: book at bedtime listeners
I can tell already that this is just not going to be for me - even with the Welsh connection...

Poet, journalist and dancer, Tishani Doshi, has a Welsh mother and a Gujurati father. This twin inheritance is at the heart of her comic, lyrical and tenderly written first novel about four generations of the Patel-Joneses, who live in a little house with orange and black gates next door to the Punjab Women's Association in Madras. It's an epic story full of vividly drawn characters, whose private live
Where to begin with this one? This book was GORGEOUS. The story, the prose, the characters -- they all combined to make an absolutely beautiful narrative of a family. Even though this novel spans many different tales and weaves together many stories, it is, at the heart of itself, a book about family, and the power of familial love. It shows the glorious days of when family does get along, and we do love each other; and those hardships that all families experience - the deaths of loved ones, peo ...more
May 31, 2012 Maddie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorites. I took my time getting through it, putting it down for hours, days and even weeks to reflect on it... I didn't want it to end. It is as beautiful, refreshing, and inspiring as anything I have ever read. So well written I could actually hear, smell and taste it. The WRITING is what makes it so wonderful. The story itself is a bit slow (hardly any conflict, instead spans a lifetime of usual highs and lows of a multigenerational family), so I recommend going into it with an app ...more
Nov 28, 2010 Lorraine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lorraine by: LT ER
Shelves: middle-east, zz2010
There is no denying that this book is well written. The prose is beautiful. The line between detail and concision is well tread. That the book was written in English, published in New York, but written by someone living in India and unapologetically uses Indian terms without explanation adds to its charm. However, I failed to find be captivated by the story.
In any high school English class we are told that a good story has a conflict, rising action, climax, and usually resolution. This story is
Sep 14, 2010 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"There is no such thing as home. Once you have forsaken it and stepped outside of the circle, you can't ever re-enter and claim anything as yours."

This is a quote from the book that captures one essential truth -- that stepping outside of one's home boundaries has great consequences for everyone.

This book explores the lives of a family whose cultures combine in the amazing prosaic story woven by Tishani Doshi. The lives of each of these characters touches so many.

As someone who has forsaken and
From BBc Radio 4 - Book at Bedtime:
Poet, journalist and dancer, Tishani Doshi, has a Welsh mother and a Gujurati father. This twin inheritance is at the heart of her comic, lyrical and tenderly written first novel about four generations of the Patel-Joneses, who live in a little house with orange and black gates next door to the Punjab Women's Association in Madras. It's an epic story full of vividly drawn characters, whose private lives are played out against the backdrop of the public events o
Buried In Print
This review was deleted following Amazon's purchase of GoodReads.

The review can still be viewed via LibraryThing, where my profile can be found here.

I'm also in the process of building a database at Booklikes, where I can be found here.

If you read/liked/clicked through to see this review here on GR, many thanks.
Dawn Wigley
Dec 07, 2016 Dawn Wigley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant book. I wish she would write more novels.
The Pleasure Seekers is a ballad of love, the kind that hits you like a deluge and threatens to sweep you away from everything you were and knew before, into blissful oblivion. It is also an ode to family, to the loved ones that are at the core of your existence, and who matter most in the end. And finally, it is the quest of many who are seeking themselves within and without, a quest that will take them to their predestined future.
The book strongly reminded me of Another Gulmohar Tree (see my
Aug 12, 2016 Penny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is an intriguing look at the blessings and curses of marrying from one culture into another, and Doshi does an excellent job of it. Parts of the story render good advice: “We should all make castles within ourselves from the stones thrown at us…”

The author’s writing style includes frequent use of words in doubles or even double-doubles or double-near doubles. I don’t know if that is an Indian proclivity, or only that of the author.
“Thinking about her now, and her tear-stained letters,
May 16, 2013 Tatum rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I am NOT a fan of Love stories, I must admit that this really captivated me- twice in the past two years.

Peter Bradshaw introduces "The Pleasure Seekers" as follows:

"The poet Tishani Doshi has written a beguiling first novel: a gentle, funny and readable tribute to her parents' marriage. Her Welsh mother and Indian father are here fictionalised as Siân Jones, the beautiful gap-toothed girl from North Wales working as a London office temp in the 60s, and Babo, the naive boy from Madras,
Mar 24, 2013 Highlyeccentric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-for-fun
This book was lovely - warm, wide-ranging, and with a strong sense of place. The key themes - homesickness, travel, belonging and 'what to do with the space your loved ones leave behind' - are embroidered with different emphasis in each character. By far my favourite was Ba, the semi-mystic great-grandmother of the clan.

I was charmed by the emphasis on similarity between Sian and Babo and their respective families. England isn't Sian's homeland into which she welcomes Babo: she's an exile there
Sep 26, 2010 Alicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This book was definitely worth the quick read that it was. At times, the poetic-ness of the author's style seemed a bit much, especially as I wanted to learn more about the family and what was going to happen next. But, the writing was well done and made for some really interesting images. I also think that Doshi does an excellent job of keeping the reader engaged, because I was always wanting to know what happened next, especially with the grandmother's eerie dream predications.

I thought that
Andrea Blythe
Feb 02, 2011 Andrea Blythe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
When Babo leaves Madras, India to study in London, he finds only loneliness and cold, that is until he meets Sian. When he meets her, he immediately falls in love with a ba-da-boom boom boom of his heart. Though his strict Jain parents are horrified by his new love, they are willing to make a compromise. If Babo and Sian wish to marry, they must live with his parents in Madras for two years -- after which point, they can live where they please.

So, Sian leaves Britain's shores and flies to India,
Oct 25, 2010 Kimberly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book through first-reads, and it did not disappoint! I fell in love with the story right away and stayed engrossed until the end. I was not ready for it to be over! It's a beautifully written story of an Indian man, Babo Patel, who falls in love with a Welsh woman, Sian Jones, while he's attending school in London. Babo's family disapproves of Sian unless the couple moves to Madras, where they eventually raise their two daughters, Mayuri and Bean. The story mostly revolves around the ...more
Sep 17, 2010 Svati rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'd like to give this book 2 1/2 stars. It was a fairly fast and painless read, but not highly enjoyable. This is the first book I've gotten for free from Goodreads' "first-reads" program; I was thrilled to have it arrive in the mail a few weeks ago - it looked fresh and beautiful and ready to dive into, as new paperback books always do.

Anyway, I thought I would enjoy this story because of my personal background; my mother is an American and my father is from India, so I'm a "hybrid," exactly l
Sep 23, 2010 Lacey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads-wins
I was very excited to receive this book via the goodreads giveaway, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, but I'm having a hard time reviewing it. I liked it, but I can't really put my finger on what exactly it is about the story that made me like it so much. Part of it is definitely the setting - I find everything about India fascinating. There's nothing particularly special about the plot or the characters, but my attention was held, and while I didn't necessarily care about what happened to th ...more
Tracy Terry
A story of love and family dramas that spans two cultures, The Pleasure Seekers is a fictionalised/reinvented account of the authors parents known in the book as Siân (Jones) and Babo.

Beautifully written, poetic and yet not what I'd describe as overly flowery.The narrative is wonderfully lyrical even if the use of phrases such as 'sha-bing, sha-bang' and 'ba-ba-boom, ba-ba-boom, ba-ba-boom-boom-boom' though charming at first did become a bit tiresome. The use euphemisms such as Mr Whatsit and Ms
Sep 01, 2016 Meghan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tishani Doshi's The Pleasure Seekers is a tender lover story that succeeds despite some muddled shifts between the characters' perspective. The development of the affection between Babo and Sian is organic. Doshi's skill lies in having us feel their desire even throughout their separation and their elation at being reunited. When the story shifts to the children's perspective, the voice becomes believable as a child's voice. Unfortunately, the shifts to the other Patel family members' perspectiv ...more
I feel like giving this 2 but I'll give 3 stars. Perhaps I'm being a bit too harsh because I'm sure a lot of people will love this book.

It is beautifully written. Paragraphs and sentences unfold with wonderful comparisons and metaphors. It's very poetic and Doshi's history as a poet shows clearly. I was fortunate enough to very briefly meet her and I would say her writing mirrors her perfectly.

However I didn't feel a connection from one passage to the next. The flow is not smooth, it's intermitt
Sep 08, 2013 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Good storyline which is easy to follow. Even today it is a difficult thing for someone from India to marry a foreigner. What more at the end of the 1960s! It is a clear indication of how forward thinking Trishala and Prem Kumar were and how much they loved Babo that they agreed to allow the marriage of their eldest child, Babo to a Welsh girl. From the narrative it would seem that the Welsh side of the family found it even more difficult to understand but then they ...more
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Tishani Doshi (born 1975) is an Indian poet, journalist and dancer based in Chennai. Born in Madras, India, to a Welsh mother and Gujarati father, she received an Eric Gregory Award in 2001. Her first poetry collection, Countries of the Body, won the 2006 Forward Poetry Prize for best first collection.[1] She has been invited to the poetry galas of the Guardian-sponsored Hay Festival of 2006 and t ...more
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“Six months of waiting. Six months of understanding the inner workings of faith and the outer spheres of the world. Six months of time: hundreds and millions of awakening seconds and sleeping minutes. Six months of aching stretched out like the Sahara: lickety-split, snippety-snip, jiggity-jig Six months of fading and blooming, stopping and starting. Six months of love: a breath, a deluge, an eternity; a single flake of snow.” 4 likes
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