Monday, January 25, 1999

An Indian Summer

by James Cameron

Cameron, a journalist, returns to India after a lifetime as a foreign correspondent, now married to an Indian.  He recalls his past there as well as India’s past and present, and along the way muses about life and death and everything else.  Then he gets into a serious car collision and finds that he needs an artificial heart.

A rich book, filled with truly deep thoughts and stunningly honest self-assessments about fear and dying as well as the human condition: “I am not afraid of the dark, I am afraid of the night, and I am afraid of the night only because it does not complete the finished day but announces the new one, which would almost certainly be as inadequate as the one before.”  He has some very perspicacious remarks about Indian politics and culture, and offers some reasonable explanations of why India works the way it does.  As insightful as these comments are, they’re not the main point.  It’s not so much a book about coming to an understanding of India but how it is possible to both love and hate that maddening country without fully understanding. 

four stars

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