In India, at the birth of the last century, an infant is brought howling into the world, his remarkable paleness marking him out from his brown-skinned fellows. Revered at first, he is later cast out from his wealthy home when his true parentage is revealed. So begins Pran Nath's odyssey of self-discovery.
I think it is worth reading for the descriptions of the places and the look back into the British empire from Kunru's point of view.
In the last third where he got into life at Oxford and beyond the picture he created became more and more sketchy and less and less credible. My sense was that he was desperately trying to close a circle when his story wanted to go off in a different direction. Disappointing.
He watches intently, praying that he is wrong, that he has missed something. There is no escaping it. In between each impression, just at the moment when one person falls away and the next has yet to take possession, the impressionist is completely blank. There is nothing there at all.
Each transformation into another persona is an 'impression' that Pran is cultivating.
A suppressed thought starts to take form. What if, long ago, he got lost? What of he got lost from himself, and could never get back again?
Kunzru sets the reader (and Pran) up for a great irony, when he has become so totally conventional and boring that his one chance of happiness is lost with his identity. But Kunzru also seems to play with genre as much as Pran plays with identity - some of them work and some of them don't. The result is an unevenness that is frustrating, though the overall impression of the book is is a favorable one.
A clever satire of Indian, British and French posh circles.
Not to forget the pscychological aspect of the characters.
Well written, well documented and humourous.A real delight!!!
Pran is an amazing character. His adventures contain a good mix of satire/humour and serious introspection which allows us to think about the broader implications of what is going on.
Well written, strong characters, good story, thought-provoking. Who could ask for more?
The book is almost too accomplished, polished and well travelled for its own good, sometimes a little soulless and devoid of warmth. At the same time, Kunzru is effortlessly gifted and his prose elegant. An interesting if clever-clever meditation on race and belonging, impeccably packaged if hard to love.