I skimmed through Elephanta Suite by Paul Theroux! Rohini who likes to read India centric books had borrowed it from the public library here in Vancouver! (An amazing library!)
The blurb 'Praise for Theroux' credited him with '..practitioner of a literary tradition honed to elegantly crafted terseness by Somerset Maugham and Graham Greene'.
If you want to know more about the readers' comments on the book have a look at amazon.com! I did like some portions of the book. Especially the observations about us. Our Indianess as it were! It is good to get some terse comments about ourselves! And we take foreigners opinion more seriously!
Here are some quotes from the book:
..They had not seen much of India, but they knew that whenever they had hesitated anywhere, looking puzzled or even thoughtful, an Indian stepped forward to explain, usually an old man, a bobble-headed pedant, urgent with irrelevancies.
"...you get these Indians talking and they flog a dead horse into dog food."
....How was it possible for people to talk so much that they were oblivious of their listener?
...That was another thing: one minute it was budget projections and stock analysis, the next minute it was horoscopes and arranged marriages and the wonder of drinking your own whiz.
"... all I see in India is people reinventing the flat tire."
" Nice doesn't seem like the right word for Indians," Audie said. "It is too bland. Lavish, outlandish, pious, talkative, overbearing, in your face, slippery, insincere, holy-- I am thinking they are Indian words"
....The miracle to them was that India was not a country but a creature, like a monstrous body crawling with smaller creatures, pestilential with people --a big horrific being, sometimes angry and loud, sometimes passive and striking, always hostile, even dangerous. And another miracle was that they'd found a remote part of it that was safe.
...Perhaps that was the secret to experiencing India, to bury yourself deeply in it to avoid suffering it.
I suppose this will do to give you an idea of how the book reads! I guess it has given me an other way of expressing myself. Especially when I want to speak more tersely!
I end with another quote from the book and hope to guard myself from being this: ..how travel made this normally straightforward man pretentious.