Bookless in Baghdad -...
This “amalgam of essay, literary criticism, and memoir . . . [is] a tribute to the world of books,” from the acclaimed Indian writer (Chicago Tribune). Born in London, and raised in Bombay and Calcutta, Shashi Tharoor was eleven years old when “an otherwise detestable teacher” dictated a passage from P. G. Wodehouse as a spelling test. It launched his first great passion: reading. In this illuminating collection of essays, the award-winning author, columnist, and former international diplomat, explores the many books that informed his life and literary identity. Tharoor tells of a childhood juggling Lamb’s Tales of Shakespeare with Archie comics. He delivers a poignant homage to Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, explains his desire to rewrite Rudyard Kipling’s “overpraised” Kim as an act of postcolonial revenge, and discusses the influence of the Mahabharata, the tw-thousand-year-old Indian epic poem, on his own Great Indian Novel. His astute views on Salman Rushdie, Aesop’s Fables, Aleksandr Pushkin, John le Carré, V. S. Naipaul, and Winston Churchill make for fascinating reading, as does his criticisms of American illiteracy and the steep price Iraqis pay just to obtain a book. In addition, his insightful takes on Hollywood and Bollywood will enlighten even the most knowledgeable cinephile. Together, these forty pieces reveal the inner workings of one of today’s most eclectic writers.