Wednesday, 6 June 2012
India is known to Fantasy Bob only through books films and second hand accounts. Here are his favourite books about India - a fairly conventional set, and overly focussed on the British and the Raj and all that, but that's FB fairly conventional.
A Passage to India - EM Forster - a classic presentation of the clash of the imperial and traditional cultures - prejudice and repression - what happened in the Mulibar Caves?
The Raj Quartet - Paul Scott - four novels describing a series of incidents at the end of Imperial India from several points of view. Compelling reading.
Staying On - Paul Scott - a follow up depicting how teh end of Empire affects some of the colonial characters. Nostalgic and sad.
Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie - a complex multi layered telling of aspects of the traumatic birth of modern India - this was a controversial and exciting debut by Rushdie but not as controversial as his subsequent Satanic Verses which led to a Fatwah being declared against him.
The Siege at Krishnapur - JG Farrell - a story about the impacts on the settler community of the Sepoy rebellion in 1857
Heat and Dust - Ruth Prawer Jhabvala - an Englishwoman finds the truth about her long dead aunt and her passionate relationship with an Indian prince
The Last Moghul - William Dalrymple - a history of the early colonialists and how they embraced Indian culture, until the Victorian State and the missionaries intervened
An Indian Summer - James Cameron - FB's favourite journalist of all time, who died in 1985, An Indian Summer, tells about his relationship with India; his marriage to Moni, an Indian; and his serious car accident and near death in Calcutta.
FB is aware of such titles as A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth and The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy but to his shame he has not read them. He will be reading White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, the Booker Prize winner in 2008, on the trip.