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The Pleasure Seekers

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  516 ratings  ·  100 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
...more
Lester
Apr 14, 2012 Lester rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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
Jennifer
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
Poonam
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
...more
Siria
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
Elaine
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
Maddie
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
Jessica
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
...more
Elizabeth
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
Lorraine
Nov 28, 2010 Lorraine rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lorraine by: LT ER
Shelves: z2010, middle-east
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
...more
Lisa
"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
...more
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.
Хасан Жамус
The book started so amazing. it was so interesting. but as soon as Babo and Sian married the book started to get boring with nothing to tell. I think the writer couldn't think of any story so he started killing the characters one after the other, and maybe just to add to the melancholy feel of the book. Close to the end however the story got interesting and I really loved how it ended. How he mixed a tragic life event into the lives of the characters, i think it made the story feels real. I am r ...more
Svati
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
...more
Alicia
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
...more
Andrea Blythe
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,
...more
Kimberly
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
Highlyeccentric
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
...more
Tatum
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,
...more
Tze-Wen
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
...more
Lacey
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
...more
Akilesh Sridharan
Once-in-a-life-time drama of Patel's family in erstwhile Madras from 1960s to 2000s. Tishani writing is unique and at most places looks poetic, as she uses her poetic touch to a greater extent. I just loved each characters, except for Ba, which slowed down the pace of the novel. Excellent first novel and the author shows a great promise in the Indian diaspora of literary fiction.
Meghan
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
Harrystuart
l'idea di base non è male, e si ride anche nell'immedesimarsi nel protagonista babo che dalla religiosissima india parte e va a vivere in Inghilterra... bella anche la storia d'amore con sian... però poi la storia scade nella solita saga di famiglia che sa di trito e ritrito fino al finale che viene liquidato in poco più che un paio di capitoli...
Aishath  Nadha
Beautifully written.
I didn't anticipate the story to end the way that it did, I was bracing myself for a...sadder. ending, and it didn't happen. Maybe that's why the read wasn't completely satisfactory; I'm not too keen on too-happy endings.
I'll probably be carrying on with reading more books set in Madras, though. Always a delight to read.
Definitely going to be reading more of her work.
Dilina
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
...more
Jennifer Dsouza
Loved the rise and fall of the language, the fortunes of the characters, the emotions, the poetry; the stories of so many different people that were all so beautifully tied up together to weave one engaging beautiful tale of an family across two continents !
Helmali
Full of Indian culture and the binding of two culture through love. It's a story of people searching for love. Some finding it, some being bruised by it, some being destroyed by it. It makes you think that love is the same regardless of cultures or countries. Beautifully written with a touch of subtle humour. A good piece to read..
Sandra
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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Everything Begins Elsewhere Countries of the Body Fountainville Everything Begins Elswhere Dignidade!

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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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