INDIA GATE by Lacey Fosburgh


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 Like Old Money (1983), Fosburgh's second novel is another overscaled tale of a troubled daughter's search for the truth about her dead father, this time with an insistently mysterious Indian setting. Twenty years ago, Louis and Thalia Guthrie left their house in Delhi for a fatal car crash many hours away in Agra, leaving their teenaged children Cully and Phoebe to be taken in by American relatives. What were Louis and Thalia doing in Agra? How were their deaths linked to Louis's long-time involvement in smuggling and faking antiquities? And what did Louis's shadowy, powerful confederate, former maharajah Jiggie Deeg, and Jiggie's protÇgÇ Kady Suraj know about his death? Returning to India to determine whether a blond male corpse found outside Delhi might be Cully's, Phoebe finds herself suddenly awash in the mysteries she never faced back then--and such present-day consequences as Cully's inexplicable revulsion from her and her long, unconsummated romance with rising political star Kady, married for years to beautiful, remote Durr, whom Jiggie had gotten pregnant and then settled with Kady. By the final fadeout, Phoebe will have settled the question of Cully's death, resolved her relation with Kady, and heard innumerable revelations about her father--yet Fosburgh decorates her plot with such an ornate narrative manner (flashbacks oscillate unpredictably with present-tense scenes, some recounted by an anonymous friend of Phoebe's, some not) and so many pearls of wisdom from the East (``In India you either have to think deeply or not at all...It unfolds endlessly, and teaches you'') that the whole effect is paradoxically weightless, as if nothing really mattered much after all. Achingly sincere, and heavy with significance--a significance that never takes satisfactory dramatic form.*justify no*

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-517-58493-X
Page count: 608pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1991