The Elephanta Suite

The Elephanta Suite

Book - 2008
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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.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2008.
Edition: 1st Mariner Books ed.
ISBN: 9780547086026
0547086024
Characteristics: 274 p. ; 21 cm.

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dbrh852
Sep 05, 2013

I didn't expect to like The Elephanta Suite, and, in the end, I truly enjoyed it. If you have romantic notions of India, this book will shake you to your toes. However, it makes a strong point that India will change you, but you don't get to decide how it will change you.

Nwagner Jan 10, 2011

Each story ends with a bit of a bizarre twist.

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