Harish Trivedi
The Last Labyrinth: A Novel by Arun Joshi Vision Books, New Delhi, 1982, 224 pp., 45.00
Sept-Oct 1982, volume 7, No 2

Though set in different locales and narrating distinctly various tales, Arun Joshi’s novels so far have been essentially all of a piece. Each (excepting The Apprentice, which was a singular virtuoso performance) has a hero from the upper crust of society who has been to Harvard or Colum¬bia, is destined for big worldly success, and yet stands back to agonize over his situation or even to spurn it altogether. The second lead is invariably a male friend, an alter ego, a but-for-the-grace-of-God figure, and it is always he or the hero who narrates the story in the first person singu¬lar. The women in the novels are always attractive and always in the background, though there is that moment when they emerge out of the wallpaper to catalyse the dis-contented hero’s progress. The plots are shapely and coherent, and the style evenly and aptly pucca—no occasion here for the reader to pause and wonder whether a particular solecism is unconscious and therefore a genuine howler or a ‘creative’ Indo-Anglian monstrosity. But the hallmark of Arun Joshi the novelist is his remarkable thematic integrity.

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