||Shyam Lal is a brilliant Indian musician living in Bombay who loves the ancient Indian forms even as he dabbles in popular music to pay the bills. When he takes on the gifted and headstrong teenage girl Nirmalya Sengupta as a pupil, she challenges him to remain pure to his art. Both use their different philosophies of art in an attempt to become "immortals,' the musicians who reach a plane where their music lives forever. Set in the 1980s Bombay, the novel shows the city rapid plunge into the modern world, and the interplay between art, commerce, and class among India's privileged set. Full of a profusion of voices and ideas--including the communal voice of the city itself--THE IMMORTALS is a richly lyrical, playfully sardonic, culturally limpid novel that captures the teeming soul of the country.
||The award-winning author of A New World now gives us an incantatory novel—at once plaintive and comic—about the powerful undercurrent of cultural and familial tradition in a society enthralled with the future.Bombay in the 1980s: Shyam Lal is a highly regarded voice teacher, trained by his father in the classical idiom but happily engaged in teaching the more popular songs to well-to-do women, whose modern way of life he covets. Sixteen-year-old Nirmalya Sengupta is the romantically rebellious scion of an affluent family who wants only to study Indian classical music. With a little push from Nirmalya’s mother (Shyam’s prize pupil), Shyam agrees to accept Nirmalya as his student, entering into a relationship that will have unexpected and lasting consequences in both their lives. As the novel unfolds, we see how their two families come to challenge and change each other, and how student and teacher slowly mesh their differing visions of the world, and what place music holds in it. With exquisite sensuous detail, with quiet humor, generosity, and unsentimental poignancy, The Immortals gives us a luminous portrait of the spiritual and emotional force of a revered Indian tradition, of two fundamentally different but intricately intertwined families, and of a society choosing between the old and the new.From the Hardcover edition.