Mar 17, 2005

There is Room For You: Charlotte Bacon

Find this book in the Hawley Library


This book tells the story of a mother and daughter who have never understood each other. The mother, Rose, had a unique childhood growing up British in Northern India. The local Indian children shunned her because she was white; the British children shunned her because her mannerisms were too Indian. After being sent to school in England and then working and marrying in the US, Rose has never felt that she belongs anywhere, except the place she least expects to find comfort.
Anna, Rose's daughter, grew up with a distant mother who had a mysterious past in a foreign place which was never spoken of. After Anna's trying divorce she decides to go to India for a while and disassociate herself from the life she is leaving behind. She has many adventures from 'adopting' and helping a beggar child, to dealing with a tragedy concerning a friendly English university student, to falling in love with a Israeli military man.
This is a story with as many twists and turns as a train ride up to Darjeeling, tea country. Everyone could relate or find interest in some part of this book.

When I went to India I took this book with me thinking that I would have plenty of time to read. I was wrong, but out of all of the books I have read on India this gave the most true-to-life impression of what it is like to be a tourist in India. Bacon accurately describes the rush of auto-rickshaws zooming down the road, not being able to understand the chatter of local people who sometimes make a point not to speak in English, and the wonderful hospitality of the Indian people.

1 comment:

plentyo'moxie said...

That is so wildly interesting about the people in India seemingly purposefully not speaking English, just to exclude you from their conversation. It makes me think of the love-hate relationship most locales seem to have with tourists - you have to love them, because of the money, but at the same time, this is life being lived here! Not a show for foriegners to stare at and gawk over.

I think this is one of my favorite books ever. I just adored the quality of the writing, how rich the descriptions are.

I wanted to ask you, since you went to India and say Bacon's descriptions are pretty right on, what about the overwhelming humanity she emphasizes in the book. Just the insane crowded-ness, people everywhere, always mushing into you, not on purpose, but because they've become accostomed to lack of personal space - was this aspect true to life? And did it make you feel weird, as an American and someone pretty used to personal space?