A Strange Kind of Paradise: India through Foreign Eyes by Sam Miller - review by David Gilmour

David Gilmour

Sentimental Indophile

A Strange Kind of Paradise: India through Foreign Eyes

By

Jonathan Cape 421pp £18.99 order from our bookshop
 

It is often said that India is like Marmite: you either love it or hate it. While I personally don’t quite see the point of Marmite (though I certainly don’t hate it), I have never understood why you cannot love and loathe different bits of India or even the same bits at different moments. Rudyard Kipling, for instance, might call Calcutta ‘the City of Dreadful Night’ but he loved

to see the morn ablaze
Above the mango-tope.
When ... half Bengal heaves into view,
New-washed – with sunlight soap. 

Sam Miller can also have different feelings about the same place, especially Delhi, which he disliked when he lived there in the early 1990s but which he now loves and described a few years ago in his first book. A Strange Kind of Paradise, his new work, is a narrative

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