Excerpt from The Elephanta Suite by Paul Theroux, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Elephanta Suite

Three Novellas

by Paul Theroux

The Elephanta Suite
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2007, 274 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2008, 288 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Vikram Johri

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


“We’re up at Agni,” Audie said. “The lodge. Just took a walk down here to see the sunset.”

“Like the monkeys.”

The Indian wasn’t listening. He was scowling at the valley he had described, where the mountain had been uprooted.

“How old do you think I am?” he asked. “You will never guess.”

“Seventy-something.”

“I am in my eighty-third year. I do yoga meditation every morning for one hour. I have never tasted meat nor alcoholic beverage. Now I will go home and take little dhal and puri and curd, that is all.”

“Where do you live?”

“Just here. Hanuman Nagar.”

“Your village?”

The old man exploded with information. “Township of Hanuman Nagar is substantial, with a market and textiles weaving and sundry spheres of commercial enterprise, including iron mongeries, pot-making, clay-baking, for house tiles, kilns and enameling.”

“No one mentioned a town,” Audie said.

“As well as fruit and nut trees. I myself am wholesaling nut meats. Also, as mentioned, Hanuman eshrine. Ancient temple. I bid you good evening.”

With that he stepped into the darkness. The Blundens walked up the road in the opposite direction, remarking, as they went, on the poise of the old man, his self-possession, his pedantry. How easy it was to jeer at him, yet he had told them several things they hadn’t known: the town, its industries, the Hanuman story, the temple business. He was faintly ridiculous, yet you couldn’t mock him—he was real. What they had been thinking of as simply Monkey Hill had a history, and drama, an Indian name, and now on that lower slope a neighboring settlement.

“Did you understand what he said about the mosque and the temple?”

Audie shrugged and said, “Beth, you get these Indians talking and they flog a dead horse into dog food.”


They had a surprise walking back up the road to the lodge. They passed through a large gateway. They had seen the gateway coming down, but they had not seen the signs: Right of Entry Prohibited Except by Registered Guests and No Trespassing and Authorized Vehicles Only.

“This means you!” Audie said, shaking his finger into the darkness. “Get your happy ass out of here!”

“You’re awful, Butch,” Beth said, and giggled because it was dark and they were in India, on this broken road, alone, dust in their nostrils, the obscure sense of smoky air, a smell of burning cow dung, a rocky hillside, and here he was making a joke, being silly. His unruly behavior was usually a comfort; she had loved him for it and regarded it as a form of protection for more than thirty years of marriage. She felt safe in his humor.

Beyond the gateway they saw the lights of the lodge and Agni itself, the former maharajah’s residence, a baronial mansion, and in the bamboo grove the spa buildings, the pool, the palm trees, the yoga pavilion, glowing in spotlights, the whole place crowning the summit of the hill he had been told was Monkey Hill, though it had a local name too, the one that old Indian had used that they found impossible to remember.

Staff members passing them on the path pressed their hands in prayer and said namaste or namaskar, and some of the Tibetans, in an attractive gesture, touched their right hand to their heart. Audie did the same in return and found himself moved by it.

At the entrance to the restaurant, Beth saw an Indian couple smile at them.

“Namaste,” she said, and clapped her hands upright under her chin.

“Hi there,” the Indian man said. He was quick to put his hand out and pumped Audie’s reluctant hand. “I’m Rupesh—call me Bill. This is Deena. Looks crowded tonight.”

Copyright © 2007 by Paul Theroux. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    by Scott Stambach
    BookBrowse First Impression reviewers were uniformly impressed by this difficult yet heartwarming ...
  • Book Jacket: Boy Erased
    Boy Erased
    by Garrard Conley
    Growing up in rural Arkansas, Garrard Conley did not quite fit the mold of his strait-laced, ...
  • Book Jacket: The Bones of Grace
    The Bones of Grace
    by Tahmima Anam
    The Bones of Grace completes Tahmima Anam's Bangladesh trilogy. The three novels, which can be ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Underground Airlines
    by Ben Winters

    "The Invisible Man meets Blade Runner in this outstanding alternate history thriller." - PW Star

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Book That Matters Most
    by Ann Hood

    An enthralling novel about love, loss, secrets and friendship.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
This Must Be the Place
by Maggie O'Farrell

An irresistible love story for fans of Beautiful Ruins and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Lady Cop Makes Trouble

The Kopp Sisters Return!

One of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs returns in another gripping adventure based on fact.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Manners M (T) M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.