White Tiger

White Tiger by Aravind AdigaWhite Tiger by Aravind Adiga

I read a few books about India while I was getting ready for my trip. This was a deceptively smart one. It reads like a page turner, but is very ambitious. There’s a great story told in a great voice, but there is also a bitter satire, a comedy of manners, a pretty damning social critique and an elaborate allegory of modernization and capitalism. But it’s all so well done, that you could ignore everything and just enjoy the story if you wanted.

Oddly enough, this book also turned out to be the one that was most connected to my experience of daily life while I was there. To make sense of geography, I had to talk about “the Darkness.” The pattern of animal names was connected to the Hindu symbolism I was seeing everywhere and reading about in my history book. Even the exasperated-admiring-resigned stance toward caste and class was true to the impossibilities of street life in big cities. The accuracy of the details just went on and on: the attitude of the rickshaw drivers, the odd disconnect of opulent-yet-tacky shopping malls in slums, and the contrast between the front and back of things.

As we were leaving Chennai, I think I saw a new novel by Adiga in hardcover in the window of a bookstore I couldn’t go back through security to visit. I’m looking forward to reading it.

March 2011

Delhi Is Not Far

Delhi Is Not Far by Ruskin BondDelhi Is Not Far by Ruskin Bond

I read this one night after talking about India with TW. I remember thinking it was fine, a nicely done, small story. But I can’t remember one single thing about it now. That says something about it.

March 7, 2011

Blogging as Time Capsule

Right now as you read, some idealistic computer nerd may be running an algorithm, trying to save a copy of what was on the web right here, right now so that someday if somebody wants to see what we were up to back in the day they can.

Well what if by some mistake in the algorithm my posts look like something interesting and get swept up? If they do, then someday, if there are in fact curious far-off souls digging through that archive trying to figure out who or what there was to see in the distant past of the twenty-first century, well then, those curious souls will know that Kilroy was here, reading and watching and doing.

It’s kind of exciting.