Yooperprof's Reviews > The Indian Clerk

The Indian Clerk by David Leavitt
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Mar 13, 10

bookshelves: britain, fiction, lgbt, india
Read from March 02 to 13, 2010

If there were a "truth in book titles" law, this novel should really be called "The Cambridge Don."

Bravo to David Leavitt for doing a lot of research on Cambridge intellectual society shortly after the turn of the century. Who would have thought you could write a 500 page novel about early 20th mathematics and make it interesting? Here's the rub: based upon Leavitt's effort here, it's probably not possible. Actually, the "campus politics" aspect of the book keeps the plot simmering for the first 200 pages or so. It's fun to read about the "naughty" Cambridge Apostles, and the conflicting egos of Bertrand Russell, D.H. Lawrence, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and other intellectual bigwigs who make their appearances here. And the Indian mathematician of the title is fascinating enough, even though he is treated entirely from the outside. The problem is there's not enough of interest - not enough plot - to justify the lengthy treatment that the author provides. And the central character through whom the novel is refracted, a cranky bachelor don named G.H. Hardy, becomes tiresome company halfway through the book.
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message 1: by Reese (new)

Reese Yooperprof creates interest in his review of a novel that, alas, is not likely to hold the attention of many readers. The review passes the "Goldilocks test": not too little, not too much --just right.


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