The Golden Gate

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Early in the novel, Seth introduces the reader to the principal characters: John, a Silicon Valley executive who reads “eclectically from Mann to Bede"; Janet, a sculptor and drummer in a band called Liquid Sheep; Liz, a lawyer and the owner of a fearsome tabby named Charlemagne; Phil, a divorced father unsure of his sexuality, who has left his job at Datatronics for reasons of conscience; and Ed, haunted by religious conflicts, the owner of an iguana named Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The relationships among these central characters grow, change, break off, and reestablish themselves in varying patterns. The one constant is the need that each character has for a loving relationship, be it that of parent and child, man and woman, or man and man.

Author Seth, a native of Calcutta, India, took his inspiration for this novel in verse from Alexander Pushkin’s EUGENE ONEGIN. The language ranges from crass to elevated; the tone is generally ironic but capable of unaffected sentiment: “When fear grows too intense to handle,/ We shrink into a private smile,/ Surprised when here and there a candle/ Drives back the dark a little while.”

In episodes poignant, sad, hilarious, and at times bathetic, Seth has created a work which deserves at least two readings: one for the story and another for the clever prosody.