A Rare Edifice
THE GOLDEN GATE by Vikram Seth Faber & Faber, England, Oxford Univer¬sity Press, India, 1987, 307 pp., 55.03
Jan-Feb 1987, volume 11, No 1

We have good novels and great ones. We have poetry that is good and poetry that is great. Vikram Seth’s The Golden Gate is a masterpiece both as fiction and as verse, This simultaneous triumph will not come as a surprise to those who have read Seth’s engaging travelogue which appeared in 1983. From Heaven Lake marked the com-mencement of a creative journey, a journey of immense promise. The Golden Gate marks the realization of that promise. To say that with his latest work Vikram Seth has ‘arrived’ would be to employ a cliche unpardonable in a review of something that is altogether unprecedented. Let us consider the originalities. Set in California, dealing with the interlocked lives of a few San Franciscans The Golden Gate is doubtless the only observation by an Indian that is entirely about another milieu with no Indian participation in the theme what-soever. This observation, besides, is not through Indian lenses either. It is, quite simply, the observation of a thinking person who could be American himself or any nationality.

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