The Tailor’s Needle is a historical fiction written by Lakshmi Raj Sharma, one of the famous Indian authors with many novels to his credit. The novel was published in 2012 in India by Penguin and since then, it has impressed the book lovers, book critics and first-time readers as well. I began reading this novel on 12 April 2020 and I finished it on 15th, today. The novel is a class work, a traditional novel with all the elements that impress you aesthetically as well as technically. It is unlike any recently published works that I have read. It has a story that keeps the readers in a constant state of pondering. The characters don’t only age but also grow intellectually with time. The most impressive thing about this novel is a holding character, the pillar in The Tailor’s Needle, Sir Saraswati Chandra Ranabakshi, a man of letters and profound intellect.
The story covers, beginning in 1918, the years from 1918 to 1938… almost the years when Indian freedom movement was about to reach its peak under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. Sir Saraswati has been designed with too many qualities and his love for the English language is one of those. There are many exchanges of letters between different people, often featuring Sir Saraswati Chandra himself, and it shows how much people like using the foreign language those days. Even with his Western education, Sir Saraswati Chandra was nationalist in his thoughts and a traditional Brahmin in his actions. However, his children could not all be like him and Maneka’s actions often trouble him. Maneka is the eldest daughter of Saraswati Chandra and Savitri, along with Sita being the youngest and Yogendra being the only son, elder to Sita and younger to Maneka.
Maneka’s husband Mohan is murdered. Maneka’s love affair with Larry and her silence that could not be broken bring the Ranabakshi family from Mirzapur to Dehradun. Sir Saraswati and Savitri are worried for Maneka… and this family trauma holds the novel to ransom for a while unless it enters into a new phase in Dehradun when Ranabakshi family comes close to that of the Vaish. Yogendra and Gauri’s love story gives the novel a flourish that it looked for. There is a contrasting quality in the novel that can be seen with each new set of episodes. Maneka’s experiences in love and relationship have been frustrating and sad; she might have been extrapolating her rights and freedom. Yogendra and Gauri’s love affair is refreshing, constructive and also socially very important as it will shake the walls of class-based discrimination – a Brahmin boy with a Vaishya girl!
The Tailor’s Needle by Lakshmi Raj Sharma is an intriguing novel. It has something or many things and this quality of being appealing to the different sets of readers makes it a fan-favourite even today. It can appeal to those who read classic novels. It can be liked by those who read historical fiction as well as those who read traditional crime thrillers and also those who read emotional, psychological and social drama novels. Can you expect anything falling short to this from a writer who teaches English literature? So, are you ready for this?
The language has been eloquent and it perfectly matches the personality of the characters in this novel. The occasional inclusions of letters, poems and periods involving highest quality of prose have been charming! The plot is limited but it has various possibilities and it perfectly catches up on those dimensions it could explore. The theme is more social than anything else. And the conclusion has an impact upon the readers who have come a long way, involved and absorbed.
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Review by Ashish Pandey for Egoistic Readers
The Tailor's Needle by Lakshmi Raj Sharma: Review
- Egoistic Rating
The Tailor’s needle is a classic historical and social fiction written by Lakshmi Raj Sharma, an Indian novelist known for his traditional approach to literature. It is a tale of a Brahmin family in the years before the independence. Mixed with a murder mystery and a freedom movement awakening, the novel becomes exciting as a readers goes deeper into the story.