Author: Anurag Mathur
This hilarious novel describes one year spent on a small university campus in the U.S.A. by an Indian student. He comes out of a small town, locally reputed to be ‘the Paris of Madhya Pradesh.’ His English is comically Indian, and his initial notions of America are absurdly inadequate and stereotyped. The theme of the novel is his comic discovery of America, and his own growth and maturing through his diverse adventures there. The novel is thus a variation on the form of the bildungsroman with a foll-protagonist, with the difference that the native wit of the protagonist far transcends his linguistic limitations. This novel has thus an acuteness and a depth of meaning which go beyond the obvious comic implications of the chosen initial situation.
If you have met Indian men from small towns who have it ingrained in their minds that foreign women are loose while Indian women are to be respected, this book would have you in splits.
I found the dark humor in the book extremely close to the stark reality. It reminded me of a conversation with a guy who took creep shots of women on his trip to Goa to show it to his friends. When confronted, he said, “Oh chill…these women are not Indian, so it’s ok.” Unfortunately, thanks to the popular media there are many men and women who believe in the myth of the extremely loose foreign women.
What happens when a man, who has this and many other perceptions of the “foreign people”, finds himself in America?
He is confused, very very confused. And the author very cleverly portrays this using proper amount of wit and humor.
On the whole, this is a fun light read which has its amazing moments. I rate this book a 3.5 out of 4.