Author: Saros Cowasjee
Publisher: Vision/Orient paperbacks
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8170946476
Goodbye to Elsa is a richly entertaining satirical novel. It is at the same time an acute study of the loneliness of the individual trying to relate himself to his fellow men.
Tristan, who tells his own story, is an Assistant Professor of History. Having gone blind in one eye, he leaves his wife, Elsa, and his son, both of whom he detests, and hides in a deserted farm-house with the intention of killing himself. Here he recalls his life, particularly his love life in India, England and Canada - a series of disappointments and persecutions.
While meticulously preparing to put an end to his sufferings he meets Marie, the daughter of a grocer, who offers him love and understanding and encourages him to face life. Tristan responds to the challenge, but his response, like much else of what he does, is distorted by his conviction that he has a Messianic role to play, and the outcome is very different from anything he had envisaged.
Entirely original and elegantly written, Goodbye to Elsa is a deadly serious comedy. In many ways-in spite of Elsa- this brilliant novel is a hymn to women, in others a funny and sophisticated revelation of British Empire man.
-The Listener, London
Cowasjee knows how to tell a story and handle his language admirably.
Funny, full of bite.
-The Times, London