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THE A5 BOOK REVIEW
The Elephanta Suite is a set of three disturbing short stories recounting three visits to India - a wealthy couple, an American lawyer trying to build business, and a gap year traveler - all coming in search of that elusive something, and how they react when the people and the country they experience are overwhelmingly foreign to their expectations. In the first story, "Monkey Hill", two tourists attempt to enjoy yoga serenity but miss the true cultural nuances around them. "The Gateway of India" tells the story of a divorced businessman forced to travel to India who succumbs to the desperation of the slums. In the last story "The Elephant God", a young woman Alice encounters the worst of the lurking aggression facing female travelers. It may be argued that Theroux here is simply trying to entertain, but the book does provide an intriguing view into how foreigners manage the contradictions and complications of a rawer and unromanticized India.
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A FEW OTHER A5 RECOMMENDED TRAVEL BOOKS FROM PAUL THEROUX (click here for more)
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THE OPENING TO "THE GATEWAY OF INDIA"
"On those stifling days in Bombay, when a meeting dragged on, Dwight hitched himself slightly in his chair and looked at the spot where his life had changed. From the height of the boardroom on the top floor of the Jeejeebhoy Towers, where Mahatma Gandhi crossed Church Gate, he could see down the long table and out the window, to marvel on it and to reflect on how far he'd come. He loved The Gateway of India for its three portals, open to the sea on one side, land on the other; regarded it as something personal, a monumental souvenir, an imperial archway, attracting a crowd - the ice-cream sellers, the nut vendors, the balloon hawkers, the beggars, and the girls looking for men."
- Paul Theroux, The Elephanta Suite