Author: Hari Kunzru
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0241141699
This novel is a comic saga about history, identity and home. It is the epochal debut of an exceptional writer.
At the turn of the century in a remote corner of India, an English civil servant and a reluctant Hindu bride cross paths during a cataclysmic rainstorm. Nine months later a boy is born. The astrologer's chart does not bode well.
Pran Nath's startling whiteness is regarded as a sign of nobility, but when his true parentage is revealed , he is ejected from his father's house and begins a haphazard journey through the bizarre dark side of the British Empire. Sold to a pair of eunuchs, he is taken to a backwater state in the Punjab and becomes the bait in the dynastic intrigues of a dissolute Indian court. Escaping to Bombay, he reinvents himself as Pretty Bobby, prince of the red-light district, while around him the Raj slides into decadence and the slums seethe with political discontent. Then a chance encounter with a drunken Englishman leads to the most daring reinvention of all. Pran Nath becomes Jonathan Bridgeman, the perfect Englishman.
As he travels across the world, from Bombay to London, from a mouldering Norfolk public school to Oxford and Paris, everyone sees him with a different eye. He blends in perfectly, until he finds himself part of an ill-fated anthropological expedition in West Africa, picking up the white man's burden for real.
The Impressionist is a comic saga about history, identity and home. It is the epochal debut of an exceptional writer.
Bridgeman, J P (Barab.)