Travels in India

June 29, 2011

For me, when I think about it, all books are travel books. I read because I want to travel, to experience different places, different times, different lives. My favourite book takes me to India in the 1950s, just after it gained independence. Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy is an epic read at almost 1,500 pages, but so delightful that I didn’t want it to end. It is full of vibrant colours and emotions, engaging characters and landscapes and fascinating details of Indian lives from the most impoverished to the very wealthy. The characters, including the country itself, have stayed with me and I have tried to recapture the glorious feel with other books set in India ever since.

Perhaps it wasn’t the best move to start with A Suitable Boy because I have not found a book to match it and have never read another book set in India that manages to capture such beauty and hope amidst the struggles. Tishani Doshi’s The Pleasure Seekers and Susan Kurosawa’s Coronation Talkies come close and I do love E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India and Rumer Godden’s The Peacock Spring, both set during England’s rule. Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance appears on so many favourites lists but I confess that I found it the most depressing novel I have ever read! A country of great contrasts, I’m not sure I’ll ever visit India in person, but I do love to go there in a book. I like going to China too, and England and France and Japan and……



3 Responses to “Travels in India”

  1. Edwirinia Says:

    Have you tried William Dalrymple’s non fiction writing on India? My favorites are City of Djinns & White Murghuls. A Suitable Boy is a wonderful read for long Indian rail journeys.

  2. figgles1 Says:

    You might also try “The God of Small things”

  3. melaxinyi Says:

    Yay! I’ve read that book too.! Very intensive!

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