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Frank Notes on Life in Khushwant Style

I remembered picking up this book from a newly opened crossword. Till that date, I had only heard name and fame of Khushwant Singh, a grand old man of letters. This was the first of his books I picked up. Though cover with a photograph of this old yet confidant man enticed me to buy, the book actually landed in my over-increasing pile of TBRs.

His work is far from a light read and just for this reason, I had left the book once only after getting in just a few pages. But I picked it up once again after some years. This time, I decided to give it a serious read and man, I was blown away! His writing is so raw and true to his believes that some people will be turned away with it.

What to expect from this?

When he wrote this one, he was at the age of 96. He opens the book with this topic, about being old! In the later pages, he opens up about his views on sex, love and marriages. He talks about his relationship with his wife Kaval and the rough patch in their marriage. He also writes about his worries, insecurities and much more.

Next he moves on to the people he came across in his life, few he liked, he respected and some whom he trashed with his pen. He had trashed the religious fundoos (his word for fundamentalists) from all the religions including his own with harsh strokes of his pen. Khushwant took a strong stand against Bhindranwale for which he was on their hit list for years. He shares his views about politics, terrorism and the riots of 1984.

Even being agnostic himself, he writes elaborately on various religious scriptures and what he finds good in them. There is a long piece on Sikh community in the book along with one on the city of Delhi. Khushwant shares his love for Urdu language and especially for Urdu poetry, where he tells us how he enjoyed translating works of great poets in English and his favorites amongst those legends.

From the blurb

In Absolute Khushwant, India’s grand old man of letters tells us about his life, his loves and his work. He writes on happiness, faith and honesty. And, for the first time, about his successes and failures, his strengths and weaknesses, his highs and lows. He tells us what makes him tick and the secret of his longevity; he confesses his deepest fears and what he holds dear. He writes about sex, marriage, worship and death; the people he’s admired and detested. With personal anecdotes and rare photographs, Absolute Khushwant is uncompromising, moving, and straight from the heart.

About the book

  • Title: Absolute Khushwant
  • Publisher: India Penguin
  • Published: Feb/2019
  • ISBN: 9780143068716
  • Length : 212 Pages
  • MRP : ₹250.00

My Rating

Content: 3.5/5
Cover Design: 3.5/5
Ease of reading: 2.5/5

Overall: 3/5

Where to get your copy

Should you read it?

Does a social commentary catches your attention? If the firm views don’t bother you, you are in for a treat. Just take up the book with open heart and give it a go. Not every one will enjoy this one.

This post is a part of #BlogchatterA2Z 2023. For more about my views on books, click here.

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11 thoughts on “Frank Notes on Life in Khushwant Style

    1. I have been an admirer of Khushwant Singh ever since we were taught a poem written by him in my seventh or eighth grade. He speaks without inhibition on any topic be it love, sex or marriage. I have not read any of his books but read interviews given by him. This book seems to be ideal for getting introduced to his writing.

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