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’