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The Elephanta Suite

by Paul Theroux

This fabulous, far-reaching book breathtakingly captures the tumult, ambition, hardship and serenity that mark modern India.

Theroux’s characters risk venturing far beyond its well-worn paths to discover woe or truth or peace. A holidaying middle-aged couple veer heedlessly from idyll to chaos. A buttoned-up Boston lawyer finds relief in Mumbai’s reeking slums. A young woman befriends an elephant in Bangalore.

We also meet Indian characters as distinctive as they are indicative of their country’s subtle ironies: an executive who yearns to become a holy beggar, an earnest young striver whose personality is transformed by acquiring an American accent, a miracle-working guru, and more.

The Elephanta Suite urges us towards a fresh, compelling, and often inspiring notion of India and its effect on those who try to lose — or find — themselves there.

The Elephanta Suite is an exquisite triptych in which figures on each panel change the way we see the rest of the composition; and the whole thing, for all its subtlety, is done in strong colours’
Telegraph Review

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