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Book 49 of 80

July 27, 2010

To India we go!

This was a very hard decision and I’m not entirely convinced I made the right choice.

I decided to choose between the three books set in India that I already own. Those were Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup, Holy Cow by Sarah Macdonald and The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai.

Here is my thought process: My Sri Lanka book looks like a literary murder mystery and Six Suspects is a murder mystery…so…did I want two books about murder back-to-back? (AND it’s over 500 pages.) The Inheritance of Loss looks great, but the setting was India and Nepal…I didn’t know if it was more India than Nepal! And I’ve been trying to be accurate about the settings. (Trying is the operative word.)

By default Sarah Macdonald won. And I’ve been reading Holy Cow since finishing Three Cups of Tea two days ago. I thought it would be funny…but it’s not really funny — not in the way I was expecting…with, you know, humor. But I’m giving it a chance. I almost abandoned it 50 pages in and switched over to Six Suspects because I loathe whiny-complainy writers. And there’s a fair bit of “I hate India. Everything here is so dirty. I’m so much better than this. I’m going to cry a lot about this stupid country” in the first 50 pages. Maybe she was unaware about how she was coming across, but I was about to give up on her.

In fairness, when I first moved to Japan, I wrote several emails back home to my parents that ring with anger and frustration at not understanding this culture I was supposed to navigate. Reading them now, they seem so grounded in Western expectations that I have to just smile. In time, I learned the truth and beauty of Japan — I’d like to believe I got to a point where I was cognizant of my American-bias.

I’d like to believe this author becomes aware of her biases too and sets them aside. That’s what I’m hoping for. I’ll keep you posted.

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