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nbarman

nbarman

The Sly Company of People Who Care - Rahul Bhattacharya This book took me a while to get into, but oh what a book! Rahul Bhattacharya has done a beautiful job chronicling his (purportedly fictional) wanderings through Guyana and neighboring countries. Bhattacharya's prose is lyrical and poetic, he is an adept observer and an even better mimic who manages to entertain, enlighten and make you poignant all at the same time. The book is not specifically engaging, nor does it have much of a plot, but that is beside the point. The narrator meanders from one place to another, experiencing one set of people and then another, one adventure or tragedy followed by another and he goes on taking it all in. There is a sense of privilege about the narrator, for being able to do this in a land where priorities and perspectives are necessarily hardened by the realities of survival. To read about Guyana from the perspective of an Indian; moreover to see the narrator's modern Indian outlook juxtaposed with a transplanted rural outlook derived in large part from India and re-enacted with local flavor in Guyana is simply spectacular. Many realities play themselves out in the same space. The author is participant, narrator, chronicler, observer and player all at once. Read this book for a unique and adventurous journey. Forgive it its minor blemishes - this is Bhattacharya's debut novel and in some parts it shows. Read it with an open mind and it will take you to magical places.