Monday, 5 May 2014

Book review: Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure

Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure
Sarah MacDonald
Bantam Books 2004

When I picked this one up, I thought it would be another attempt by a westerner to highlight the inglorious and uncouth side of Indian life.  Well, it is.  But it is also a lot more else.  What begins as a personal rant at the appalling living conditions, ill-mannered behaviour and just about everything else about India, turns into a personal foray into the desirable side of the same country: culture and spirituality.

Every faith practised in India is examined by the author, who seems to have taken a lot of pain and pleasure in travelling the corners of the country experiencing each of these and encountering interesting adherents of these faiths.  It seems that the free time she had at her disposal as her fiance/husband left her for his own journalistic pursuits was put to good use by her.  

Of course there are plenty of errors: names misspelt, and liberties taken with a few explanations, to name a few.  That apart, the author says most things like they are, without hiding behind diplomacy or political correctness.  

It can be a racy read as it is engaging, and those into religion, travel and culture, or wanting to retrace the author's steps would find it most interesting.