A speculative buy, courtesy of a gift voucher for Readings. Perhaps when you are given free rein in such a way in a bookshop, one should exercise an intrepid spirit. Reading this you might be wondering what is intrepid about buying such an established writer, but don’t forget, I’m largely entrenched in a period before today’s fashion. I’d never heard of Galgut.
I put this book in my shopping basket because the first page said to. For a moment, when I got back to Geneva and – flopped out on the sofa – opened it, the next few pages made me wonder:
‘Was I completely mad? How could I have thought to buy a book just like that – in such a frivilous, impetuous way – without checking to see that at least thirty of my Goodreads friends had given it the thumbs up?’
The fact is that almost none of my Goodreads friends read anything I like. What an amazing place the world of books is that this could be so, given that, in my opinion I read many wonderful books that all my friends would do well to take a stab at. Doubtless they feel the same of me.
Anyway, this book, which I found unputdownable, against a backdrop of travel, explores loneliness and alienation. It redeems a species that not only made Lost in Translation, but saw it as a meaningful examination of loneliness as manifests itself in travel. The descriptions of Africa and India are haunting. The evocation of what traveling alone is, makes me better understand bits of my own life. I have no hesitation giving this five stars.
A tip for you after reading this. Never never EVER find yourself needing to be hospitalised in India. You do want to know why, but you have to read the book.