The Pleasure Seekers by Tishani Doshi

It’s coming up for the 70s. Babo and Sian are in love, two worlds meeting in London and then moving, flying to India where things are hot and jasmine scented, to raise two girls. Babo from hot Madras and Sian from a small village in Wales, they marry and venture bravely to meet the world with their love holding them together. One foot in and one foot out.

I really really enjoyed The Pleasure Seekers.

Doshi’s writing has an addictive quality, so much so that when I reached the end of the novel I became gravely upset. Doshi has created a world that I felt saddened and despaired to leave.

The flow and ebb of her writing is charming and lush, her world real and not real.

The lack of racist behaviours within the novel may make other readers mad- how can everyone be okay with an Indian man and White woman marrying?!- but to me it was a comfort. POC are tired of being oppressed in real life and fiction. What could be more heartwarming than a nain and taid adoring their Indian sunsoaked grandgirls? Lack of racism shouldn’t be something I’m thankful for but it is.

Adding to the enchanting world of this novel is the narrative tone, the use of repetition that tugs at the heart, and the themes that are so simple but so wistfully told. It’s funny, romantic, heartwarming, and saddening all at once.

The Pleasure Seekers takes the reader on a whole life’s journey just within 314 pages. Doshi takes us through generation after generation. She pulls the reader through this family’s highs, their lows, and their wonderful calm middles. This novel is an escapist treat but still tied to our world; it is after all based on Doshi’s own parental romance.

As I said before, I became upset when I reached the last page because dammit I wanted more! In this novel, this world, all I wanted was more and more and more and- I don’t know what it is but I feel like I would read on about Babo and Sian, their family, their children, their children’s children, and all the rest of it. There is no adventurous plot but I want to know everything in between. I want to know if Bean was happy in the end.

Maybe it’s Doshi’s characters, real and romantic, or maybe it’s her prose, inviting, warm, and life changing. The Pleasure Seekers has me wanting to open my arms wide and shout at the sun to declare love of all forms, and to pick up my own pen and write an abundance of love letters, to seek out love and find love. To write about it, read about, and live in it.

(Tishani Doshi has also announced that she will be releasing a new novel named Small Days and Nights– and I’m utterly ecstatic. Elaine’s on the job!)

GWL is a multi-voiced haven for the diversity of lived experience that makes up women’s history. Our blog is written by many different voices and, although everything we share is in line with our values, some of the views expressed are personal and do not necessarily reflect the wider views of GWL. We’re proud to share the words of our staff, volunteers and placement students and we hope you enjoy reading their thoughts.

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