Synopses & Reviews
Rehan Tabassum has grown up in a world of privilege in Delhi. His mother and her new husband embody the dazzling emergent India everyone is talking about. His real father, however, is a virtual stranger to him: a Pakistani Muslim who lives across the border and owns a vast telecommunications empire called Qasimic Call.
As Rehan contemplates his future, he finds himself becoming unmoored. Leaving the familiarity of home for Pakistan in an attempt to get closer to his father, he is drawn into events he barely understands. His half brother, Isffy, is being blackmailed; his powerful fathers entourage is tearing itself apart; and the city of Port Bin Qasim, where he finds himself, is filled with rioting protestors. Moral danger lurks in every corner of this dark, shifting, and unfamiliar world.
Set against the background of a turbulent Pakistan and a rapidly changing India, Noon is a startling and powerfully charged novel from a brilliant young writer. Aatish Taseer bears witness to some of the most urgent questions of our times, questions about nationhood and violence, family and identity.
"Readers of Taseer's memoir, Stranger to History: A Son's Journey Through Islamic Lands, or his previous novel, The Temple-Goers, may be disappointed to find a shocking amount of retread in his latest. It seems less a novel than four loose vignettes from a life split between India and Pakistan, with a postcolonial emphasis on how industrial modernization has isolated the Westernized bourgeoisie from a sometimes resentful underclass. The first episode offers a snapshot from the Delhi childhood of Rehan Tabassum; the second introduces his stepfather, the seething 'man of the times' industrialist Amit Sethia; while in the third section, Rehan narrates the investigation of a burglary at the Sethias' estate in which everyone is a suspect. The book's last and strongest part finds the privileged Rehan adjusting to life in the intrigue-ridden household of his estranged Pakistani birth father, powerless to control the ingrained scandalous class fissures in the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir. There are incisive depictions of believers entwined with moguls beholden to American interests, but overall, while the prose has a hypnotic old-fashioned fluidity, there is a distinctly deleted-scenes feel, leaving what ought to be the most stirring characters blank and the most revealing details unarticulated. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“Naipauls praise is rare enough to be notable; and Taseer lives up to it . . . Among the sharpest and best-written fictions about . . . contemporary India.”
“[A] tangle of politics, murder, bribery and betrayal . . . Gripping.” —The Observer
“Combining a heady cocktail of theft, blackmail and dysfunctional family relations with a touch of the Kafkaesque, this is a powerfully written and deeply thoughtful work.” —Anna Scott, The Guardian
“A meditative, occasionally jolting novel by Aatish Taseer, the 31-year-old son of the former governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer . . . [A] blackmail plotline provides the novel with its brutal climax—and deepens the perception that Pakistan is both decadent and abnegating, irrevocably Westernized and violently closed off. The novels smart coda . . . does nothing to reconcile or rationalize these contradictions. No sense trying to do so, seems to be the message of this intelligent, unsettling novel—a theme only a fiction writer could express in such a satisfactory way. —Taylor Antrim, The Daily Beast“Naipauls praise is rare enough to be notable; and Taseer lives up to it . . . Among the sharpest and best-written fictions about . . . contemporary India.” —The Independent
“[A] tangle of politics, murder, bribery and betrayal . . . Gripping.” —The Observer “Noons careful yet nimble prose captures the visceral quality of this world in decline through a keenly critical and coldly detached lens . . . Moral corruption, greed, and violence are not glamorized or sensationalized; they are recursive facts of life, eternally returning as Nietzsche wouldve guessed, and modern day Pakistan is not immune . . . It pops with the verve of a great detective story, filled with suspense and scandal, but also empathy and even meta-fiction.” —Stephen Spencer, Electric Literature
Rehan Tabassum has grown up in a world of privilege in Delhi. His mother is a successful lawyer and her new husband is a wealthy industrialist whose way of doing business is at the heart of the New India everyone is talking about. But there is a marked absence in Rehans life: his real father, a Pakistani Muslim who owns a telecommunications empire in Pakistan. Noon follows Rehans attempts to negotiate this loss as he journeys, both physically and emotionally, toward the heart of his fathers world. From the atavistic scenes of a childhood in Delhi to the citys boom and bust; from an earthquake in Pakistan to threats of violence in the sinister city of Port Bin Qasim; from the lives of servants at home in Delhi to blackmail and menace within Rehans fathers company- this extraordinary family saga interrogates the nature of power in two changing countries. Aatish Taseer tells the story of a man who comes of age as his country does, in an atmosphere of political quicksand and moral danger.
About the Author
Aatish Taseer was born in 1980. He has worked as a reporter for Time magazine and has written for The Sunday Times (London), the Financial Times, Prospect, TAR, and Esquire. He is the author of Stranger to History: A Sons Journey Through Islamic Lands (2009) and is the highly acclaimed translator of Manto: Selected Stories (2008). His novel The Temple-Goers was shortlisted for the 2010 Costa First Novel Award. He lives in Delhi and London.