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Description de l’éditeur
This fabulous, far-reaching book breathtakingly captures the tumult, ambition, hardship and serenity that mark modern India.
Theroux’s characters risk venturing far beyond its well-worn paths to discover woe or truth or peace. A holidaying middle-aged couple veer heedlessly from idyll to chaos. A buttoned-up Boston lawyer finds relief in Mumbai’s reeking slums. A young woman befriends an elephant in Bangalore. We also meet Indian characters as distinctive as they are indicative of their country’s subtle ironies: an executive who yearns to become a holy beggar, an earnest young striver whose personality is transformed by acquiring an American accent, a miracle-working guru, and more.
The Elephanta Suite urges us towards a fresh, compelling, and often inspiring notion of India and its effect on those who try to lose — or find — themselves there.
The dismayed, disoriented American travelers in this trio of stereotype-shattering novellas from Theroux (following Blinding Light) lament the missing "solemn pieties" and "virtuous peasants" of the India they read about in novels. In "Monkey Hill," a wealthy ugly American type husband and wife take pampered health spa treatment at the foot of the Himalayas to be their due. But when the couple presume that the sybaritic care they're paying for includes invitations for sex with masseurs and waiters, their idyllic holiday takes a tragic turn. In "The Gateway of India," a fast-track Boston capitalist finds his loathing for the squalor of Mumbai's slums tempered by how easy it is to buy the affections of young women; meanwhile, his once obsequious Indian assistant is usurping his power. In "The Elephant God," a college graduate on her own encounters a young man whose call-center mastery of American dialect somehow rewires him from overly friendly striver to malevolent stalker. These unsettling tales about American travelers at odds with India's complexities are linked through passing references, but what they share most is a transformative menace that takes the place of spiritual succor.