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The Tailor’s Needle by Lakshmi Raj Sharma Book Review


The Tailor’s Needle is a novel written by Lakshmi Raj Sharma. Published in 2009 for the first time, the novel has been published in India by Penguin Books. Though the book could not garner a wide readership compared to the contemporary publications by writers that we all know, the novel has attracted critical reception and appreciation from different sections of critics, serious readers and academicians and the novel has mostly been praised for the characters that the novelist has developed in the novel. The Tailor’s Needle is meant for the audience that can distinguish a layered text novel from a substandard contemporary fiction written mostly for sensual pleasure through intellectual means. I hope you get what I mean here.

The Tailor’s Needle begins and ends in pre-independence India and we meet various characters, mostly from the same family, led by Sir Saraswati Chandra who is called Sir Saraswati by the narrator most of the times. Sir Saraswati has a versatile character and he can speak fluent English and he does not want his children to mingle with the kids around – prejudice, you may say that. However, things don’t go as per plan, entirely. His kids inherit some of the qualities from the father and develop some on their own which is a natural case. Another character that impressed me the most after Sir Saraswati was of Maneka, the elder daughter of Sir Saraswati who seems to be dominating the novel for the most lengthy part of it. Maneka is a persuasive, dynamic, compelling and influential character who does not bow down to the customs herself. Ironically enough, she represents the societal norms herself at one time in the novel.

The novel has a multi-faceted, rich and multi-layered theme that switches from this to that theme at times and moves together with all at others. You will see that the conundrum of Sir Saraswati Chandra between choosing English culture for fulltime and embracing his Indian identity on and on lingers throughout the novel and ends only with the conclusion of the novel which is emphatic. Another theme which is apparently visible throughout the novel is of the British oppression on Indian citizens and remarkable use of the satirical sense of humour by the novelist who has used various characters to ridicule the British and their ways. The social fabric of India before independence comes to the readers’ view once the love story between Yogendra and his unexpected neighbour becomes visible to the public (at least the residents of Vaishya and Sir Saraswati’s family). And, last but not the least, the freedom struggle of India and various facets of it are also implicitly visible, in patches, during the course of the novel which cannot be ignored if you read The Tailor’s Needle carefully enough.

In terms of language, I will say that the author deserves very liberal commentary… he has done what many novelists fear to do in India these days. L R Sharma has maintained the dignity of fiction writing and at the same time, he has kept his writing lucid enough for the young readers to read and enjoy the nice build-up to a possible crime thriller that emerges with the death of Maneka’s husband at the beginning of the novel and goes on for a while. So, the novel offers something to every reader who comes with expectations. And I would suggest that the novel belongs to every possible reader. Are you ready? You can get your copy from Amazon India by clicking the Amazon link below:

Buy the novel from Amazon India now – click here to buy

Review by Gunjan for Desi Readers

The Tailor's Needle by Lakshmi Raj Sharma Book Review
  • Desi Reader's Scale


An interesting book which might be for a specific section of readers if you are not accustomed to reading serious novels. However, if you have read serious novels in the past, this work is for you by all the means…

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