Rasma Says

Musings, deliberations, flashes of unaccounted for brilliance…

The Impressionist: A novel review

What I don’t understand is how the blurbs on the cover can say things like “funny” and “exhilarating”. I agree with “brilliant” but would add that if you, like me, are yourself a half-caste offspring of the Raj then prepare to despair. The last few chapters which portray what really happens when the colonialists come to town ought to be obligatory reading for all politicians, diplomats and cultural anthropologists. Oh yeah, and missionaries. 

Just when you thought the multicultural world had a future, Kunzru reminds you that deep down the foundation for all human behavior is: Birds of a feather flock together. 

Or do they? Maybe crossing cultures is just what separates man from bird and beast. Even so, issues of identity, which were charming and quaint when my father emigrated from India as part of the initial Brain Drain, have become volatile and dangerous with everyone clutching their cultural dogmas and standing on guard, poised to defend or attack. What Kunzru does is illustrate that with sleight of hand hyperbole so this book seems at times a satire, at times a memoir. 

I won’t give it a 5 because there is a lot about the protagonist that I don’t buy, in fact he can be fairly one-dimensional despite the constant focus on him. About the time Jonathan was mucking around Oxford I was about to abandon the book from boredom. I reluctantly read on to follow him on his own private river trip into the heart of darkness. I am forever changed for having done it. Kunzru does not allow you to be indifferent to the issues he raises. Damn him!


This entry was posted on 10/03/2012 by in Uncategorized and tagged .
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