Apr. 11th, 2007

alobear: (Default)
The second of the books recently lent to me by [livejournal.com profile] siroswold, Sorcerer's Apprentice by Tahir Shah is definitely the weirdest travel book I've ever read. A lot of it is really funny (though I'm not sure it's supposed to be) and a lot of it is really not - but even the unpleasant bits have little emotional impact because they're written in such a whimsical fashion that none of it seems real.

Most travel books are written either in a lighthearted anecdotal way or an authoritarian tone that tries to suggest the writer is an expert in whatever area he is writing about. This book features a largely imbecilic narrator, who spends most of his time in utter bewilderment at what is happening to him. According to the blurb, it all apparently happened on a trip to India, and it's all ludicrous enough to be believable, but the style is so remote and surreal as to be more like fiction than anything else.

Anyway, it remained entertaining all the way through, and I particularly like the character of The Trickster, a twelve-year-old con artist the author picks up in Calcutta.

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