Teleology of Gilded Clinics
Mohan Rao
Teleology of Gilded Clinics by Siddhartha Mukherjee Fourth Estate, London, 2011, 2011, 572 pp., 499
December 2011, volume 35, No 12

This book, a brilliant book, received extraordinary attention in India. You might disagree with me, but I believe we do not have a rich literary culture. This is of course fundamentally related to India’s caste structure, and that we haven’t changed that much since Independence. There is little public space for books, a space that has shrunk in the last 20 years, even as book sales have increased. But there lies another story-of the dumbing down of publishing, of the Chetan Bhagatization of reading. All leading English language newspapers—who have over the last 20 years dispensed with their book review editors, and indeed often with book reviews unless they deal with fashion, food, fucking and the First World-discovered the book after Dr. Mukherjee had won the deserved Pulitzer Prize. They celebrated the book, highlighting the fact that it had been written by an Indian, with interviews of his family and school teachers in New Delhi and so on. Dr. Mukherjee is also seriously good looking, and I heard, he is doing a role in a Bollywood film. The Times of India even told me he has celebrity friends like Salman Rushdie.

Dr. Mukherjee is of course an American citizen, so these reviews suffused with jingoism were completely misplaced. We should celebrate the book-and not the Pultizer Prize-because it is a worthy book, an important book, a hugely well researched book, guilded by history, and occasionally poetry. I was dazzled by the book. 

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