Connect with us


Review of the book The Spoiled Heart by Sunjeev Sahota

Review of the book The Spoiled Heart by Sunjeev Sahota


Again, I'm talking about Sunjeev Sahota. I won't stop until you read it.

On the other side of the Atlantic, this argument is not so difficult to make. A decade ago, To agree named Sahota one of the 20 best young British novelists, along with Sarah Hall, Naomi Alderman and Zadie Smith. At the time, John Freeman, editor of Granta, predicted that these authors would be exceptions to the general rule of irrelevance facing today's writers. This exception has certainly remained true for Sahota, who was nominated for the Booker Prize in 2015 for The Year of the Runaways and again in 2021 for China Room.

His new book, The spoiled heart, finds a timeless imprint in the hot metal of the moment. The story explores identity politics, that complex intersection of race, gender, and sexual orientation that, depending on your perspective, promotes fairness or sanctifies discrimination. This is the kind of treacherous novel that Philip Roth could have written and almost did with The Human Stain.

But I already regret this comparison. Although Sahota is as clear-eyed as Roth about the crosscurrents of tribalism that distort our lives, his tone is still plaintive. No matter how much he sympathizes with the characters' grievances, he never sweats with the kind of rage that fueled Roth.

At the center of The Spoiled Heart is an affable and respected manager named Nayan Olak. As the novel opens, he is putting forward his candidacy for the position of general secretary of Britain's largest trade union. The executive committee assured Nayan that after years of loyal service, the time had come: as an Anglo-Indian, he would be the first non-white general secretary. He is expected to lead the union into a glorious future for colorblind people. Of course, he will be an expert in the art of gracefully subsuming minority concerns into the self-interests of the majority. You'll win, no problem, says a colleague, because you know that most of the laid-off workers in this country are white. Even when he was a teenager, his white friends' parents praised him: You're like one of us. Sahota notes that this compliment always left Nayan with a confusing mix of pleasure and hurt, of being both co-opted and made to feel like a traitor. But now he knows he's right: unions must focus on the great struggle of all workers, not the particular concerns of various minority groups.

Surely there is an intelligent young woman named Megha Sharma who will contest against him in the elections. Although she is also of Indian descent, she stands in stark contrast to Nayan: her parents are wealthy, she did not work for decades in the union, and she is fluent in the strident dialects of critical theory and politics identity. She has no trouble questioning Nayan's assertion that the old model of solidarity trumps all gender and racial differences. But Nayan remains convinced that highlighting concerns raised by, for example, women of color will appear to divide rank-and-file members.

And besides, Nayan is a little bit of the position of general secretary. After all, decades ago his mother and only child died in a horrific fire. Shortly after this tragedy, his marriage was shattered by grief. Over the years, it has become glamorized by the nature of its losses, by the hypnotic allure of the bereaved parent. It seems shameful, but if necessary, Nayan does not hesitate to allude to the fire and his mourning to tip the scales in his favor.

This is the unstable moral foundation of the Spoiled Heart. Sahota sets up an admirable protagonist and then lets our sympathy coagulate in the fetid atmosphere of his ambition. A similar reassessment takes place around Megha, who emerges as a privileged snob, drunk on the slogans of DEI activism, but who gradually reveals herself to be just as passionate about helping ordinary workers. Both candidates feel abused by the others' tactics, creating perilous negotiating territory as the campaign becomes increasingly contentious.

Along the way, Sahota throws so many disparate pieces into this story that it's a miracle when they begin to coalesce like a box of gears and springs rolling down the stairs and coming to rest in the shape of a clock. The novel's timely political debate develops alongside a growing mystery about the old fire that destroyed the Nayan family. The stench of this potentially racist attack lingers in deliberations about race in the workplace. And as much as Nayan would like to deny it, race also influences how people talk about his romantic relationship with Helen Fletcher, a white woman who recently returned to town.

In fact, the only clunky element of The Spoiled Heart is a subplot involving Helen's teenage son, Brandon. He was once fired from a catering service job after a wealthy black student concocted a racist offense and lashed out at the woke mob. This melodrama of white innocence and manufactured racial protest seems like one of those reactionary narratives recycled on Fox News and in the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal.

Or perhaps this anecdote is a crucial reminder that we receive these details second and third hand, after they have been picked up and transformed into stories that make sense to the different storytellers. As the narrator admits, I only knew a small part of these people, the part that could be held and beaten like metal into some sort of shape.

Because, you see, Le Cœur gâté is indeed a novel told to us by an interested spectator; it is a tragedy like Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby that has taken root in the mind of a haunted spectator. In this case, the narrator is Sajjan Dhanoa, who remembers Nayan as an older and much cooler student of the time. After high school, Sajjan moved to London and became a successful fiction writer. But The Spoiled Heart is not one of his novels; rather, they are bundled notes, interviews, and scraps of speculation that he pieced together as he searched for a new plot. “I had no idea for a while,” he admits. Surely there was some material here.

During their first reunion, Nayan accuses him of building a career out of making us look despicable. But that's not fair. Throughout The Spoiled Heart, Sajjan struggles to guess what happened to his former acquaintance. It pushes neighbors and relatives to remember a dark past. I didn't intend to spy, he says, but every time his thumb slides into the camera's field of view, I'm reminded of the voyeuristic setting of this project. When Nayan's memories seem hopelessly self-aggrandizing, Sajjan confesses: “Like Nayan, I wanted to believe that this could be true, and when someone asks him: Is this something you are writing for publication?” he squirms: Just for me, really. This all gets pretty personal. He's more right than he thinks, and he draws us into the same conspiracy to create a coherent narrative, to explain the painful descent of this once-successful man.

I was still just trying to connect, Sajjan tells us as the novel accelerates toward a series of increasingly shocking revelations. But what can or should we really know? This is the paradox with which this brilliant novel struggles and which will consume any reader who picks it up.

Ron Charles reviews books and writes the Reading Club Washington Post newsletter. He is a book critic for CBS Sunday Morning.




The mention sources can contact us to remove/changing this article

What Are The Main Benefits Of Comparing Car Insurance Quotes Online

LOS ANGELES, CA / ACCESSWIRE / June 24, 2020, / Compare-autoinsurance.Org has launched a new blog post that presents the main benefits of comparing multiple car insurance quotes. For more info and free online quotes, please visit https://compare-autoinsurance.Org/the-advantages-of-comparing-prices-with-car-insurance-quotes-online/ The modern society has numerous technological advantages. One important advantage is the speed at which information is sent and received. With the help of the internet, the shopping habits of many persons have drastically changed. The car insurance industry hasn't remained untouched by these changes. On the internet, drivers can compare insurance prices and find out which sellers have the best offers. View photos The advantages of comparing online car insurance quotes are the following: Online quotes can be obtained from anywhere and at any time. Unlike physical insurance agencies, websites don't have a specific schedule and they are available at any time. Drivers that have busy working schedules, can compare quotes from anywhere and at any time, even at midnight. Multiple choices. Almost all insurance providers, no matter if they are well-known brands or just local insurers, have an online presence. Online quotes will allow policyholders the chance to discover multiple insurance companies and check their prices. Drivers are no longer required to get quotes from just a few known insurance companies. Also, local and regional insurers can provide lower insurance rates for the same services. Accurate insurance estimates. Online quotes can only be accurate if the customers provide accurate and real info about their car models and driving history. Lying about past driving incidents can make the price estimates to be lower, but when dealing with an insurance company lying to them is useless. Usually, insurance companies will do research about a potential customer before granting him coverage. Online quotes can be sorted easily. Although drivers are recommended to not choose a policy just based on its price, drivers can easily sort quotes by insurance price. Using brokerage websites will allow drivers to get quotes from multiple insurers, thus making the comparison faster and easier. For additional info, money-saving tips, and free car insurance quotes, visit https://compare-autoinsurance.Org/ Compare-autoinsurance.Org is an online provider of life, home, health, and auto insurance quotes. This website is unique because it does not simply stick to one kind of insurance provider, but brings the clients the best deals from many different online insurance carriers. In this way, clients have access to offers from multiple carriers all in one place: this website. On this site, customers have access to quotes for insurance plans from various agencies, such as local or nationwide agencies, brand names insurance companies, etc. "Online quotes can easily help drivers obtain better car insurance deals. All they have to do is to complete an online form with accurate and real info, then compare prices", said Russell Rabichev, Marketing Director of Internet Marketing Company. CONTACT: Company Name: Internet Marketing CompanyPerson for contact Name: Gurgu CPhone Number: (818) 359-3898Email: [email protected]: https://compare-autoinsurance.Org/ SOURCE: Compare-autoinsurance.Org View source version on accesswire.Com:https://www.Accesswire.Com/595055/What-Are-The-Main-Benefits-Of-Comparing-Car-Insurance-Quotes-Online View photos


to request, modification Contact us at Here or [email protected]