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The Golden Gate

The Golden Gate, by Vikram Seth

The Golden Gate was published in 1986. It is the first novel by poet and novelist Vikram Seth. It is in verse composed of 590 Onegin stanzas (sonnets written in iambic tetrameter, with the rhyme scheme following the unusual ababccddeffegg pattern of Eugene Onegin). It was inspired by Charles Johnston’s translation of Pushkin’s 1833 Russian classic, Eugene Onegin. Set in the 1980s, it follows the lives of a group of yuppies in San Francisco. It brought its author the 1988 Sahitya Akademi Award for English, by the Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters. It is at once a bittersweet love story, a wickedly funny novel of manners and an unsentimental meditation on mortality and the nuclear abyss. Always witty — and still profound — the book paints a truthful picture of our dreadful, comic times.