The Scent of God

TSOGReviewMajumdar, Saikat. The Scent of God. Simon and Schuester: 2019
Deccan Herald

One of National Herald’s 10 Best Books of 2019

One of Times of India’s 20 Most Talked About Indian Books of 2019

One of Times of India’s Best Romance Novels in 2019

One of Deccan Chronicle’s 2019 books to watch out for

One of Verve Magazine’s 7 books to look forward to in 2019

One of Times of India’s Most Promising Novels in 2019

One of Huffington Post’s 35 Books to look forward to in 2019

In an elite all-boys’ boarding school run by a Hindu monastic order in late-twentieth century India, things aren’t what they look like on the surface…

Anirvan, a young student, is fascinated by the music and silence of spiritual life. He dreams of becoming a monk. But as he seeks his dream, he finds himself drawn to a fellow student, and they come together to form an intimate and unspeakable relationship.

The boys sweat at cricket and football, crack science and mathematics in pursuit of golden careers, and meditate to the aroma of incense and flowers. It’s a world of ruthless discipline shaped by monks in flowing saffron. A sceptical teacher mentors Anirvan and reveals his suspicion of this vigilant atmosphere. Does the beating of the boys reveal urges that cannot be named? What is the meaning of monastic celibacy? What, indeed, holds the brotherhood together?

Against himself, Anirvan gets sucked into a whirl of events outside the walls of the monastery, in the midst of prostitutes, scheming politicians and the impoverished Muslims of the villages surrounding the school. When the love of his life returns to him, the boys’ desire for each other push them towards a wild course of action. But will that give them a life together in a world that does not recognize their kind of love?


Whenever India played Pakistan, the villagers in Mosulgaon wanted India dead. For the boys, that was the best reason to watch cricket on TV. The village was just outside the walls of the hostel; their roars and firecrackers were real, an enemy of their own!

Continue reading the excerpt on Outlook.

An interview with Tabish Khair-
…The Scent of God is also a novel of growth and education – of a boy older than the one in The Firebird. He grows up in a monastic boarding school, so religion – especially monastic spirituality – is a deep and sensual part of that growth. But it’s also a time of adolescence, and hence a sexual awakening. How do the spiritual and the sensual come together? I find it fascinating…Continue reading on The Wire.

An interview with Shireen Quadri
“History and memory meet in all my novels. Memory is simply that which is available to you in sensory form. Archives outside the realm of the sensory are what we call history.”
Continue reading on Scroll.

An interview for Ashoka University
“The quiet world of the ashram and the tough and dusty city streets outside offer them some difficult choices, as do their ideologically divided adult relations.”
Continue reading here.

An interview with Bhumika Popli
What is more important to a poet than a stranger humming their lines in a moment of sadness, or great joy? When someone tells you that they are taking your book with you as their preferred companion on a long train journey?”
Continue reading on Indian Express.