A Strange Kind of Paradise is an exploration of India's past and present, from the perspective of a foreigner who has lived in India for many years. Sam Miller investigates how the ancient Greeks, the Romans, the Chinese, Arabs, Africans, Europeans and Americans - everyone really, except for Indians themselves - came to imagine India. His account of the engagement between foreigners and India spans the centuries from Alexander the Great to Slumdog Millionaire. It features, among many others, Thomas the Apostle, the Chinese monk Xuanzang, Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta, Vasco da Gama, Babur, Clive of India, several Victorian pornographers, Mark Twain, E. M. Forster, Allen Ginsberg, the Beatles and Steve Jobs. Interspersed between these tales is the story of Sam Miller's own 25-year-long love affair with India. The result is a spellbinding, 2,500-year-long journey through Indian history, culture and society, in the company of an author who informs, educates and entertains in equal measure, as he travels in the footsteps of foreign chroniclers, exposes some of their fabulous fantasies and overturns long-held stereotypes about race, identity and migration. At once scholarly and thought-provoking, delightfully eccentric and laugh-out-loud funny, this book is destined to become a much-loved classic.
The author is a long-term resident of India, married to an Indian, and this book, an exploration of India’s extraordinarily complex past and present, from the perspective of a foreigner who has lived there for many years and is therefore an insider/outsider, is a kind of homage to the manifold and extraordinary ways that visitors to India and dreamers about her have come to imagine the country. Foreigners have been engaging with this astounding country for millennia and this book spans the long centuries between Alexander the Great and Steve Jobs, a vast and spellbinding overview of Indian history, culture, and society that weaves its way in and out of accounts from writers and visitors as varied as Thomas the Apostle and E M Forster, and including the author’s own views after 25 years of residence. This is a scholarly, readable and wonderfully eccentric view of India as seen through foreign eyes.
Sam Miller has written a wonderfully witty, wise, idiosyncratic and properly hybrid book that achieves the near-impossible. It is at once a touching personal memoir, a droll and discursive travelogue and an erudite work of literary criticism which somehow manages to be, at the same time, a hugely entertaining history of the world's often confused dialogue with South Asia over three thousand years. It is also, almost as an after-thought, a most moving love letter to India. -- William Dalrymple, author of City of Djinns
Publication date: 05/06/2014
Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd an imprint of Vintage
|Publication date:||5th June 2014|
|Publisher:||Jonathan Cape Ltd an imprint of Vintage|
Sam Miller was born and brought up in London. He studied History at Cambridge University and Politics at London University's School of Oriental and African Studies, before joining the BBC in 1986, for which he has worked, on and off, ever since. In the early 1990s he was the BBC World Service TV and radio correspondent in Delhi, and on his return to the UK in 1993 was the presenter of the BBC's current affairs programme, South Asia Report. Later he became the head of the Urdu service and subsequently Managing Editor, South Asia. He was posted back to Delhi in 2002 and ...More About Sam Miller