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(12/25/2008) The Elephanta Suite by Paul Theroux. Boston. 2007. Houghton Mifflin. keywords: Literature America. 274 pages. Jacket photograph by Steve McCurry. 0618943323.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   A master of the travel narrative weaves three intertwined novellas of Westerners transformed by their sojourns in India. This startling, far-reaching book captures the tumult, ambition, hardship, and serenity that mark today's India. Theroux's Westerners risk venturing far beyond the subcontinent's well-worn paths to discover woe or truth or peace. A middle-aged couple on vacation veers heedlessly from idyll to chaos. A buttoned-up Boston lawyer finds succor in Mumbai's reeking slums. And a young woman befriends an elephant in Bangalore. We also meet Indian characters as singular as they are reflective of the country's subtle ironies: an executive who yearns to become a holy beggar, an earnest young striver whose personality is rewired by acquiring an American accent, a miracle-working guru, and others. As ever, Theroux's portraits of people and places explode stereotypes to exhilarating effect. The Elephanta Suite urges us toward a fresh, compelling, and often inspiring notion of what India is, and what it can do to those who try to lose--or find--themselves there.

 

 

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