Books about India

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  • #835
    Antonina
    Participant

    When I was about to leave my homeland, I thought it would be great to read some books about India. Someone advised me to start with ‘Kim’ by Rudyard Kipling in order to better understand the spirit of the country. It worked 🙂 The book was written more than 100 years ago, but it doesn’t matter – there are things that never change.Later I came upon many other great books about India, but ‘Kim’ was the best.

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    #841
    Antonina
    Participant

    ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ by Jules Verne. When I was a child, I used to find the Indian part of the book especially fascinating. And no wonder!

    The discordant tones of the voices and instruments drew nearer, and now droning songs mingled with the sound of the tambourines and cymbals. The head of the procession soon appeared beneath the trees, a hundred paces away; and the strange figures who performed the religious ceremony were easily distinguished through the branches. First came the priests, with mitres on their heads, and clothed in long lace robes. They were surrounded by men, women, and children, who sang a kind of lugubrious psalm, interrupted at regular intervals by the tambourines and cymbals; while behind them was drawn a car with large wheels, the spokes of which represented serpents entwined with each other. Upon the car, which was drawn by four richly caparisoned zebus, stood a hideous statue with four arms, the body coloured a dull red, with haggard eyes, dishevelled hair, protruding tongue, and lips tinted with betel. It stood upright upon the figure of a prostrate and headless giant.

    Sir Francis, recognising the statue, whispered, “The goddess Kali; the goddess of love and death.”

    “Of death, perhaps,” muttered back Passepartout, “but of love—that ugly old hag? Never!”

    The Parsee made a motion to keep silence.

    A group of old fakirs were capering and making a wild ado round the statue; these were striped with ochre, and covered with cuts whence their blood issued drop by drop—stupid fanatics, who, in the great Indian ceremonies, still throw themselves under the wheels of Juggernaut. Some Brahmins, clad in all the sumptuousness of Oriental apparel, and leading a woman who faltered at every step, followed. This woman was young, and as fair as a European. Her head and neck, shoulders, ears, arms, hands, and toes were loaded down with jewels and gems with bracelets, earrings, and rings; while a tunic bordered with gold, and covered with a light muslin robe, betrayed the outline of her form.

    The guards who followed the young woman presented a violent contrast to her, armed as they were with naked sabres hung at their waists, and long damascened pistols, and bearing a corpse on a palanquin. It was the body of an old man, gorgeously arrayed in the habiliments of a rajah, wearing, as in life, a turban embroidered with pearls, a robe of tissue of silk and gold, a scarf of cashmere sewed with diamonds, and the magnificent weapons of a Hindoo prince. Next came the musicians and a rearguard of capering fakirs, whose cries sometimes drowned the noise of the instruments; these closed the procession.

    Sir Francis watched the procession with a sad countenance, and, turning to the guide, said, “A suttee.”

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 4 months ago by Antonina.
    #842
    Antonina
    Participant

    ‘A Passage to India’by E. M. Forster.  A strange tale of a young Englishwoman in a strange land, of mysterious influence of India on minds and hearts, of clash of cultures and mentalities.

    #999
    iancochrane
    Participant

    Greetings all.
    An Australian-based writer & traveller, my Book Indian Summers & is now available & is about being there, in this land of two million gods.

    I would be most happy sign hard copies & send off post free to those interested.

    FYI, An independent review from the travel section of Australia’s only national broadsheet is here-

    ‘The style is observational and anecdotal, his vignettes illuminated by the assorted zany characters he meets. Anyone who has ventured alone around India, with an open mind and a sense of humour, will find resonance in Ian Cochrane’s adventures.’
    – Susan Kurosawa, travel editor, the Australian

    Indian Summers cover_iancochrane

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 4 months ago by iancochrane.
    • This reply was modified 8 years, 4 months ago by iancochrane.
    • This reply was modified 8 years, 4 months ago by Antonina.
    • This reply was modified 8 years, 4 months ago by Antonina.
    #1148
    RonCartier
    Participant

    Hi there @Ian Cochrane! You should start a separate topic just for your book – it’s quite an honor, being able to discuss a book with its author. I loved the description – is there any place I could read some extracts from the book?

    #2351
    iancochrane
    Participant

    Hullo Ron,
    A condensed essay extract is here-
    Losing Faith

    FYI, My blog includes a number of posts on the magic of India, including Kerala & Mumbai. Simply have a look @ the index on the right & page down.

    Cheers, ic

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 4 months ago by iancochrane.
    #7635
    Antonina
    Participant

    The Colonel’s Son by Nigel Eldridge.

    India through the eyes of a British 8-year-old boy.

    #7647
    Antonina
    Participant

    The following books are not exactly to my taste, but as they are rather popular among the book lovers from different countries, I suppose we can’t ignore them 🙂

    So, Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.

    A convicted Australian bank robber and heroin addict who escaped from Pentridge Prison flees to India. The novel is commended by many for its vivid portrayal of tumultuous life in Mumbai.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shantaram_(novel)

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    #7649
    Antonina
    Participant

    Bombay Ice by Leslie Forbes

    A dazzling novel of murder and monsoons, of poison and seduction, of long-buried secrets and lethal betrayals…

    Rosalind Benegal is a BBC correspondent who has spent years distancing herself from surreal memories of a childhood spent in India. But lately, her long-lost sister, Miranda, has taken to sending Rosalind cryptic postcards all the way from Bombay. In swirling script, Miranda claims she’s being followed by a eunuch. She alludes to her childhood fear of water. She hints that her husband may have murdered his first wife. Miranda’s dizzying missives compel Rosalind to do what she would never do on her own…return to the land of her birth, to the country that still haunts her after twenty years abroad.

    Part literary thriller, part eloquent meditation on everything from the secret art of alchemy to the hidden lives of gangsters, artists, con men, transvestites, and serial killers, Bombay Ice is rich with the heady atmosphere of India. It is an extraordinarily intelligent debut that captures the very essence of an exotic and fabled land.

    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/185299.Bombay_Ice

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    #7651
    Antonina
    Participant

    The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga.

    It was first published in 2008 and won the 40th Man Booker Prize in the same year.[1] The novel provides a darkly humorous perspective of India’s class struggle in a globalized world as told through a retrospective narration from Balram Halwai, a village boy. In detailing Balram’s journey first to Delhi, where he works as a chauffeur to a rich landlord, and then to Bangalore, the place to which he flees after killing his master and stealing his money, the novel examines issues of religion, caste, loyalty, corruption and poverty in India.[2] Ultimately, Balram transcends his sweet-maker caste and becomes a successful entrepreneur, establishing his own taxi service. In a nation proudly shedding a history of poverty and underdevelopment, he represents, as he himself says, “tomorrow.”
    The novel has been well-received, making the New York Times bestseller list in addition to winning the Man Booker Prize and holds the rating of 4.5 stars out of 5.[3] Aravind Adiga, 33 at the time, was the second youngest writer as well as the fourth debut writer to win the prize in 2008.[4] Adiga says his novel “attempt[s] to catch the voice of the men you meet as you travel through India — the voice of the colossal underclass.”[5] According to Adiga, the exigence for The White Tiger was to capture the unspoken voice of people from “the Darkness” – the impoverished areas of rural India, and he “wanted to do so without sentimentality or portraying them as mirthless humorless weaklings as they are usually.”[6]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_White_Tiger

    #16223
    Antonina
    Participant
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