Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Stealing the Ambassador

What a waste of a brilliant title.

When I commandeered it unceremoniously from my brother's bookshelf, it was in the irrational hope of either a rollicking read with the unapologetic exuberance of Sacred Games or a multilayered, multicoloured production like Midnight's Children. Or maybe even a tale of deep, chronic decay in the style of Rohinton Mistry or Sarathchandra Chattopadyaya. Or something else entirely, a new and wonderful type of book.

Even the ominous blurb – "Twenty-three year old Rajiv Kothari is lost in a nation he has always called home and beckoned by the one his father left long ago" – could not dim the promise in the title.

Well, you already guessed it. All it is, is yet another tourism brochure. I've only read half and maybe it'll turn into a technicolor dreamcoat in the second half. But I think I'm too depressed to slog it out to the end.

If Sameer Parekh's grammar wasn't just a little bit questionable, he might even have won the Booker. And, as it stands today, I can't think of a worse indictment (though I have to admit I wouldn't exactly kick it out of bed if it was ever offered to me...).


Tys on Ice said...

so, is it worth a read?...always had a soft corner for Mark Tully's traveloques...since iam so far frm home, have this sudden pangs of homesickness which is quickly dispersed by going and standing in rolla square...

Gargoyle said...

Karama Centre does that for me :)

NOT worth a read. AT ALL.

To satisfy gentle nostalgia of intelligent compatriots, I currently recommend:
Travelogues: Sanjeev Bhaskar's new(ish) book and Chasing the Monsoon by Alexander Frater.
Fiction, Lavanya Sankaran's The Red Carpet (especially nice if you have a Bangalore chromosome) and Vikram Chandra's Sacred Games (good anyway but will definitely speak to a Bombay chromosome)

outlooktraveller.com is pretty good too!

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