In this “candid, perceptive and intelligent” trio of novellas, the acclaimed travel writer presents tales of Westerners transformed by sojourns in India (Independent, UK).
These three intertwined novellas by the author of The Great Railway Bazaar capture the tumult, ambition, hardship, and serenity that mark today’s India. Theroux’s Westerners risk venturing far beyond the subcontinent’s well-worn paths to discover truth, peace, or woe.
A middle-aged couple on vacation veers heedlessly from idyll to chaos. A buttoned-up Boston lawyer finds succor in Mumbai’s reeking slums. And a young woman befriends an elephant in Bangalore. We also meet Indian characters as singular as they are reflective of the country’s subtle ironies: an executive who yearns to become a holy beggar, an earnest young striver whose personality is rewired by acquiring an American accent, a miracle-working guru, and others. As ever, Theroux’s portraits of people and places explode stereotypes to exhilarating effect.