We That Are Young
by Preti Taneja
I figured that while we were in lockdown, and I was back to a respectable reading speed, it was time to tackle one of the doorstop books on my TBR. There are a few of them. Generally I enjoy a big book as they have the room to really delve deep into characters and weave expansive plot. This novel ticked those boxes and much more. That said, it is now a month since I finished it, so I’m afraid this review will be far briefer than this epic saga deserves.
This is a retelling of King Lear set in modern-day Delhi. Devraj is the head of a megacompany and at the start of this tale he announces his retirement and intention to split the company between his three daughters. They all, in different ways, defy him. And he is growing senile, which makes him increasingly anti-women. It’s a brilliant, darkly fascinating interpretation of Shakespeare’s tragedy.
The story opens with Jivan, Devraj’s godson, returning to India after spending half his young life in America. He is attractive and well educated, and wants more than anything to reconnect with the family – especially his half-brother Jeet. But instead he is met by his estranged father Ranjit (Devraj’s right-hand man) and Devraj himself and swept away to the family estate, “the Farm”, where Jivan is told he now has a job in the company’s security department. This job comes with a creepy room from which he can monitor all the Farm’s CCTV and listen in on employee conversations – including the sisters’ lunchtime conversation.