Mishra's innovative approach to Indian history and literary expertise are evident in his powerful book about Buddhism, An End to Suffering
(see starred review on p.692), and in this brilliantly constructed anthology. Mishra has a particular interest in how outsiders perceive India, his vast and vastly diverse homeland, and accordingly he has selected a superb and unpredictable set of writings by inspired visitors (many of whom were outsiders even in their own worlds) to India past and present. Paul Bowles offers lush descriptions of the countryside; recounts his brief, harrowing incarceration on suspicion of espionage; and muses on cow worship. Bruce Chatwin reports on a wolf boy. Excerpts from Allen Ginsberg's Indian Journals
record his 1962 sojourn in Benares. Here, too, are Hermann Hesse, Peter Matthiessen, Jan Morris, George Orwell, Octavio Paz, Paul Scott, and Gore Vidal. Superbly written, frank, and revealing both of themselves and of the bit of India they internalized, the chroniclers of India Mishra has so thoughtfully assembled create a spectrum of mental weather ranging from blazing sunshine to impenetrable shadows. Donna SeamanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Pankaj Mishra was born in North India in 1969 and now lives in London and India. He is the author of The Romantics,
which won the Los Angeles Times
’s Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, and An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World.
He is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, Granta,
and The Times Literary Supplement.