Review: Holy Cow!

Author: Sarah MacDonald

I am heading to India at the end of the month, and have been doing a lot of reading about various places I might visit. I had this one unread India travelogue in my TBR stack, and decided to read it to whet my appetite.

This is the story of how MacDonald returned to India after having left it over a decade earlier, wowing never to return. But fate plays funny tricks on people: her boyfriend, a broadcast journalist, was stationed there and she quit her job and moved to Delhi to be with him. She was not a religious or spiritual person when she arrived, but a fortuneteller's prophesy set her off on a search of spirituality among the many religions of India, and in the main the book is about this search. Each religion and spiritual experience is examined - often extremely superficially, I thought - and she takes away something good from each of them, but eventually rejects them all because none is perfect for her, finally finding the peace she is looking for within herself.

It's an interesting book and she had some experiences I can relate to, but the search for spirituality and religion is too much of an obvious gimmick for it to come across as entirely sincere. The book is entertaining - especially the passages about the spookily accurate fortune-tellers (even if they read like fiction) and about the living saints and their followers - but ultimately rather empty. You will find no new revelations about India in there, only a light read to while away a couple of hours.

Comments

tim said…
Hi,I just finished reading Paul Theroux's book Ghost Train to the Eastern Star which retraces his earlier journey in The Great Railway Bazaar.
He travels to places like Delhi,Jodhpur,Jaipur,Mumbai and Bangalore among other Indian cities and offers his own views on the country and how its changed or not since he last visited it.An interesting read I thought.
I hope you enjoy your trip.
tim
Bibliophile said…
Thank you, Tim, I'm sure I will enjoy my trip. I'll definitely be on the lookout for the book - I enjoyed The Great Railway Bazaar and I'm sure I will enjoy the new one as well.

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