An at times strange book that left me wanting more. Pity that so few people have even hear of this masterpiece by Desani. You don’t have to take my word for it, here is what Eliot had to say about it: “In all my experience, I have not met with anything quite like it.”
Somedays, I think this is the best book I have read. There is so much brilliance in the book that I just am grateful that I discovered it. Not sure how that happened. The excerpt below gives tells a fair bit about the book and its context. One can read it for the meaning, for the style or sometimes, just for the exuberance.
(The sort of loco parentis who’d shower on you a penny, and warn you not to squander it on woman, and wine, and
“Help others! Help others!” he used to say. Knowing that the most deserving party needing help was self, I decided to chuck the school, get out into the open spaces of India, seek my lebansraum, and win my bread and curry all on my own.
And one warm Indian autumn night, I bolted as planned, having pinched, for voluntary study, an English dictionary, the Rev. the Head’s own-authored ‘Latin Self-Taught’ and ‘French Self-Taught’, the Missionary Society’s school stereoscope complete with slides (my second love after my mother) and sufficient Missionary funds lifted from the Head’s pocket to see me through life.
From that day onwards, my education became free and my own business. I fought off the hard-clinging feelings of my motherlessness. I studied the daily press, picked up tips from the stray Indian street-dog as well as the finest Preceptor-Sage available in the land. I assumed the style-name H. Hatterr (‘H’ for the nom de plume ‘Hindustaaniwalla’, and ‘Hatterr’, the nom de guerre inspired by Rev. the Head’s too-large-for-him-hat), and, by and by (autobiographical I, which see), I went completely Indian to an extent few pure non-Indian blood sahib fellers have done.
A few books you may like
And here is something from New York
Additional Book Information
Series: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: November 6, 2007