The Man Who Would Be Queen by Hoshang Merchant struck a chord. I mean it had to, after all I am as gay as him and what was chronicled in this book, made me also look back on my life till now. The book is a collection of lyrical essays on the self that flaunts itself as being autobiographical in nature. The good thing is that the book doesn’t speak only about being gay. It also covers the poetic ground, after all Mr. Merchant is a poet first and that is quite evident in the pieces collected here.
Hoshang Merchant is not trying to rev things up or trying to create a storm in a teacup. These essays are just his way of acknowledging the life he has led and the years that are about to be lived. He speaks of topics that are varied – the moon, The Taj Mahal, infidelity, love, passion, broken hearts, his homosexual room-mate, and his poetry. He speaks of his friendships with women whose husbands were homo-phobic and chauvinistic – I mean all gay men have gone that road – in some form or the other and this book just states it. Finally he also speaks of why he writes and what it means to him in, “Garden of Bliss” which according to me every young writer needs to read.
I did not have any questions while reading this book. It is crystal clear in its writing and the ethos is felt because it comes out to be an honest book and written from the heart. Hoshang merges prose with poetry beautifully and that is the highlight of the book.
The resilience needed in the face of tragedy and the need to go on living, no matter what, is what I have personally gathered from this book. Read the book without biases and it can make you think – a lot and also feel.