In flight from the tame familiarity of home in Bombay, a twenty-six-year-old cricket journalist chucks his job and arrives in Guyana, a forgotten colonial society of raw, mesmerizing beauty. Amid beautiful, decaying wooden houses in Georgetown, on coastal sugarcane plantations, and in the dark rainforest interior scavenged by diamond hunters, he grows absorbed with the fantastic possibilities of this new place where descendants of the enslaved and indentured have made a new world. Ultimately, to fulfill his purpose, he prepares to mount an adventure of his own. His journey takes him beyond Guyanese borders, and his companion will be the feisty, wild-haired Jan.
In this dazzling novel, propelled by a singularly forceful voice, Rahul Bhattacharya captures the heady adventures of travel, the overheated restlessness of youth, and the paradoxes of searching for life’s meaning in the escape from home.
|Publisher:||Farrar, Straus and Giroux|
|Product dimensions:||6.12(w) x 9.36(h) x 0.96(d)|
About the Author
Born in 1979, Rahul Bhattacharya is the author of the cricket-tour book Pundits from Pakistan, which was voted one of the Ten Best Cricket Books of all time in The Wisden Cricketer (London). He lives in Delhi, India. This is his first novel.
Read an Excerpt
LIFE, as we know, is a living, shrinking affair, and somewhere down the line I became taken with the idea that man and his world should be renewed on a daily basis. Those days I liked thinking in absolutes – life, man, the world – but people like to be specific about things. Hence, my actions were a little difficult to explain. To be a slow ramblin’ stranger! It made perfect sense to me.
I still had to make friends, and my first one was Mr Bhombal, a waterworks technician. Mr Bhombal was, like me, an Indian national. Bhombal was his first name, yet I took to calling him Mr Bhombal. He just had that vibration. He wore polyester trousers. His steel watch faced up palm side. To read the time he would raise his forearm to his eyeline. Ordinarily I would deflect the question of why I was in Guyana: ‘Nice girls, eh’ or ‘The people here are all leaving’ – wholly correct – ‘so somebody had to come’. But as Mr Bhombal was so sincere in his effort to play elder brother, I told him the truth. I told him I came here once and afterwards had dreams. The low sky, red earth and brown water made me feel humble and ecstatic. The drenched wooden houses on stilts wrenched my soul. I told him I’d be here for a year.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Grins pacing around her. Biting his lip.
Cat or human
This (maybe autobiographical?) novel by a young Indian journalist follows a young Indian journalist through a year in Guyana, the South American nation whose unique racial politics stem from its history of imported labor (from India, Africa, and Portugal) and its strong indigenous cultures. Bhattacharaya and his protagonist both seem to love Guyana, and the book evokes the richness of the country's cultural mosaic, the humor and individualism that distinguish its citizens, and the tremendous glory of its landscape and natural resources. The book also captures the challenges of being an outsider/insider while journeying--among the Guyanese whose ancestors emigrated from India, Bhattacharaya's protagonist feels simultaneously alien and at home (and the same drama of familiarity and alienation is played out toward him). But this isn't a dry treatise at all, rich in information as it is. It's a novel full of vivid characters, not least the cricket-loving protagonist, and alive with the distinctive Guyanese take on English. Not to be missed!