Norman Lewis avoids the easy pleasures of travelling through the hill-forts of Rajasthan, visiting palace hotels and the Taj Mahal. Instead his travels in India begin in the impoverished, overpopulated and corrupt state of Bihar - the scene of a brutal caste war between the untouchables and higher-caste gangsters. From these violent happenings, he heads down the west coast of Bengal and into the highlands of Orissa to testify to the life of the 'indigenous tribals who have survived in isolation. As William Dalrymple observed in The Spectator, 'the great virtue of Norman Lewis as a writer is that he can make the most boring things interesting; whatever he is describing whether it is a rickshaw driver, an alcohol crazed elephant, or a man defecating beside the road Lewis senses are awake for sounds or smells, and he can make you think twice about scenes you have seen ten thousand times before the book is full of some of the strangest facts imaginable ...It is a joy to read. Other Norman Lewis titles published by Eland: Jackdaw Cake, The Missionaries, Voices of the Old Sea, A View of The World, Naples 44, A Dragon Apparent, Golden Earth, The Honoured Society, An Empire of the East, In Sicily and The Tomb in Seville.
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