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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Review - The Inscrutable Americans - Anurag Mathur

This is my second book done for my First Challenge entered into! The challenge is linked to the South Asian Challenge 2011 - S Krishna's books.

Gopal a boy from a small time village in India ends up in Eversville to study in an American university. His world has been a little one and he has been sent to America with strictures on behavior, eating patterns, American girls and to avoid anything Western at any cost!!!! Add to this a mentor - Randy - a typical young man whose main purpose in life is to enjoy life at university (not to study!).

Though the book attempts to be comical, I found it to be forced. I cannot believe in this day and age people behaving the way Gopal did. I could believe this if it was a typical villager but Gopal is a boy who speaks English, reads English and we presume read about America before he arrived. That Gopal was so unaware of life in America is too much to be believed and I felt the author was poking fun constantly at Gopal.

Gopal comes to America believing it is the land of milk and honey (overflowing). He discovers poverty. He also discovers the ethics of hard work and how this would help him to prosper. That it is not what your father did, or what your caste is that determines how you would succeed in life. These are the good parts of the book.

Maybe being Asian myself I did not see the funny part of Gopal's life in America. I found it ludicrous and slightly condescending. However, this is a book that has got positive reviews and is also being made into a film.

I have loved Asian authors who write stories with both an Asian and a Western background. This book was for me a disappointment.


  1. I am sorry to hear the book was a disappointment. It happens, and it sucks :( Better luck with the next book

  2. It does seem like a real stretch to think that someone who has that kind of knowledge and choose to go to a foreign country would be so lacking in knowledge of the culture.

  3. The novel is from 1991, and the film that it 'is also being made into' was released in 1999. Maybe that helps put things into perspective.