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The Last Song Of Dusk

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,485 ratings  ·  173 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 2004 by Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  1,485 ratings  ·  173 reviews


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Hardly
Jan 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: okay, decent
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
Daren
OK, so having invested far too much time in this book, I am not investing much more in the review. Frankly I am amazed by so many gushing reviews for this book.

Things in this book that didn't work for me:
- It is set in the 1920s. The dialogue is ridiculously modern, it grates against the setting, far too much.
- There is a parrot in the book, which holds full conversations with its owner - rubbish.
- The genital descriptions are ridiculous to the point some actually make no sense: Example: "...a m
...more
Neha
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
...more
Lilly
Mar 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
...more
Stef Rozitis
This book was well written, the descriptions lush and exotic the characters complexly reworked stereotypes that were somewhat larger than life and at times faintly transgressive of the cliche (for example suffering "good" woman- wife and mother- Anuradha as well as devious, alluring whore Nandini are united by more than both being devastatingly beautiful and tragic but by real friendship which did not break down in any of the predictable ways). But they are still stereotypes, especially the fema ...more
Kkraemer
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful girl leaves her parents' home to meet her future husband, taking her songs and those of her ancestors to guide her life. What ensues is love...love of family, love of self, love of those who are curiously besotted, love of panthers and flowers and the moonlight on loins/ponds/the balcony.

It's also the book of distance, unbearable loneliness, and death.

This story isn't quite real, but it is utterly compelling. The story is something between a parable and a fantasy, with inexplicable
...more
Ronak Gajjar
I am speechless!
Him inscribing this is painfully magnificent,“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.”
How easily he defines love in such simple words, no complications.
He amazingly no rather I say magically will
...more
Rachel
Feb 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Vanya
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
The Last Song of Dusk by Siddharth Shanghvi is a tale soaked in melancholy and wrapped as a tragedy, written with the objective of ripping your heart out and shredding it into pieces. It starts with the bewitching Anuradha, whose songs caused even the moon to listen, leaving Udaipur to meet her prospective husband, Vardhmaan in Bombay. The two meet and Anuradha is enthralled by Vardhmaan’s ability to tell stories that fill her with awe and inspire in her an admiration for the striking doctor. It ...more
Nandaja
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.
...more
Vikalp Trivedi
This debut novel of Siddarth Dhanvant Sanghvi starts as a fairy tale story between two wonderful characters - Vardhamaan and Anuradha . The novel proceeds very swiftly and really like a fairy tale romance . Until , the life happens. Story takes a twist and never becomes back again what it used to be . The story takes another twist when the Dariya Mahal and new characters are  introduced . All characters were wonderfully build up and had their unique presence and impact on the story. The prose , ...more
Rhea Roy
Feb 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lori
Jun 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would give this novel a higher rating for the quality of writing alone- the prose is lush and seductive, it has qualities of magical realism, and more than a touch of funny- but writing alone does not make a great story.

The story has to be there and I felt he got off to a good start, a young couple with an arranged marriage who fall in love and lose their son. How is this not enough? But, for him it isn't because he allows a cousin of the protagonist to enter the story, steal the novel, and f
...more
Pam
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read a few of the reviews of this book as I started out reading it and I can see where some of the comments came from, in regards to the latter end of the story. However, I genuinely found the whole novel captivating. It has been some time since I read a book, where I had to pause, to truly savour the writing.

The writing is exquisite and is beautifully poetic at times; the characters are so three dimensional and leave you yearning to continue to follow them. The story itself, whilst often ver
...more
Lilli
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. ...more
Jayci
Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Nisrin Aziz
Dec 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally, a book that makes me pause, lean back and disappear into thought. Every sentence is poetry.
Pallavi Kamat
Jul 04, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I cannot believe how bad this book is. The story seemed promising but the descriptions and the way the story moves was awful. I am not sure if it's supposed to be a sarcastic book but the way it drops names & talks about the Page 3 people is cringe worthy.

I just felt the author was trying too hard to be cool. Or maybe I didn't get the book at all; maybe there's some deeper meaning beneath all the jazz.
...more
Faith
Sep 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heartbreaking at times with descriptions so vivid you could picture yourself in India with them. I agree with the Sunday Times a magical piece of storytelling. The sex scenes were a bit comical though. I would definitely read another book by this author.
Cathy
May 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Magical and slightly mythical feel to this story of love and life. So much loss and tragedy but hope still shines through. its an unusual story with fantasy and truth entwined to provide such distinct imagery.
Jacq Jardin
Nov 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Dre
Jan 17, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
M
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are books that you pick because you loved another book by the same author and it kind of spoke to you very very fluently. This is one such book that I picked up just because I loved ‘ The Rabbit & the Squirrel’ by the same author and so happy that I did. For long I was craving to read a book that has the right concoction of humor, wit, language and layers. This just weaved magic on all the fronts. It is not Murakami but it definitely is ingenuous and will leave you better off.

Strongly rec
...more
Karen
May 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel-the-world
To be honest I am not really sure how I feel about this book. I've read several books set in India, and this one was different. The writing was beautiful, at times too beautiful. I would recommend A Fine Balance, or Sister of My Heart before this one.
...more
Uttara Srinivasan
I never understood what the magic realism genre was all about - this one enhanced my education over night. For a debut novel - prose is lush and downright beautiful in places. But several portions left me less than comfortable with images and words - it adds to the melancholy of the story no doubt but it also makes me never want to think about the read again - that I my world is never a good sign
Neesha
Feb 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous book. Beautifully written. I am still shocked a man wrote in such a deep insightful way about the life of a woman.
Leah
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is now in my top 10 of all time!
Jen
May 03, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
ooh, i couldn't even get through half of it. ...more
Shinde
Apr 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poignant-love
Lyrical writing. Sensual, rich, turgid with love and longing.
Hrishi
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Hrishi by: Jithin Mohan
What a book !!
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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
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