REVIEWS

This category contains 21 posts

Beyond the call centre

Anand Giridharadas, India Calling What does it feel like to be both inside and outside a culture? When Anand Giridharadas moved to Bombay after being raised in the US, he found that he had to reassess his understanding of a country he had always viewed from afar and through the eyes of an Indian American. … Continue reading

Tibet: Culture on the Edge – Phil Borges

In the epilogue to Culture on the Edge, Phil Borges turns his lens inward. ‘I didn’t want to point an accusing finger. After a year and a half traveling across the Tibetan plateau and seeing the issues the Tibetans face, my finger ultimately came around to point at me.’ He is talking about climate change, … Continue reading

Beautiful Thing – Sonia Faleiro

I went to a dance bar in Bangalore a few years ago, having harassed my friend Vijay into taking me along for a look. The scene was booming then, in the wake of a crackdown in Bombay. But what confronted us was a surprise after all the lurid press reports. Fully dressed women, most in … Continue reading

Tibet: A History – Sam van Schaik

HISTORY DEMYSTIFIED The book starts with a dramatic moment. In the eighth century a brand new Tibetan empire burst out of the plateau, taking everyone by surprise when it captured the Chinese capital in 763. The Tibetans have never forgotten, and it’s unlikely the Chinese have either. The story of Tibet had actually begun a … Continue reading

Small Indiscretions – Felicity Castagna

These twenty stories are about people displaced: Australians wandering Asia in search of something. It might all be fiction, but it has the ring of truth. ‘She gave up writing straightforward accounts of her journeys years ago. She has surrendered herself to her love of fiction.’ This is Maria, an ageing backpacker washed up amongst … Continue reading

The Tao of Travel – Paul Theroux

This collection is the exact opposite of Theroux’s other travel writing. Usually he goes abroad and writes about novels. This time he stays at home and writes about travel books. It works. Whether you’re a fan of Theroux or not – and this reviewer is not – read on. The beauty of this book is … Continue reading

Tragedy in Crimson – Tim Johnson

EARTH TREMORS AHEAD Pay no attention to the subtitle of this book, ‘How the Dalai Lama Conquered the World but Lost the Battle with China’. The author says relatively little about His Holiness, possibly because so much has already been written. As for losing the battle with China, if one thing emerges it is that … Continue reading

Delhi: Adventures in a Megacity – Sam Miller

LONG WAY ROUND There can’t be too many books where the footnotes are more entertaining than the text. Who would’ve known that cockroaches are related to lobsters – although not as closely as humans are to rats, apparently? There are other embellishments as well – hand drawn maps, intriguing black and white photos sprinkled throughout … Continue reading

Sideways on a Scooter – Miranda Kennedy

LIFE AND LOVE-CUM-ARRANGED MARRIAGE British-American journalist Miranda Kennedy spent five years in India, moving to Delhi from New York in 2002. She worked for National Public Radio and a slew of newspapers, but this book is far more interesting than your average action-packed journo memoir. Subtitled Life and love in India, it tells the stories … Continue reading

To a Mountain in Tibet – Colin Thubron

THE HEART OF THE MATTER This is an unusual book from Colin Thubron, regarded by many as the world’s greatest travel writer. It’s short – just 218 pages – and less dense than his other books, which often involve rambling journeys through the world’s forgotten places. Think Russia, Siberia, Central Asia or 1980s China, their … Continue reading