Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Himalayan Dhaba

After absolutely ages, I read a bad book. An incredibly horrendously written story that takes you nowhere, teaches you nothing and leaves you wondering why you didn't give up halfway.

I am most disappointed with this book because of its setting. It is set in a little charas infected village above Manali. I love books about the mountains of Himachal, I collect them quite seriously, and this one is such a waste of a name.

Himalayan Dhaba is written by a doctor named Craig Joseph Danner who worked at a primitive hospital nearby in the early 1990's. It showcases all the negative issues of the region, the hippies, the haphazard construction of ‘hotels’ due to the tourist boom, the freely available drugs and of course dreadlocked sadhus. What book on India written by a foreigner would be complete without them?

Best to stay away.


Anonymous said...

Just started this book and it makes no sense... the doctor talks about how she has a million $ from husband's life insurance and a million $ from selling her practice yet she does not use any of her $$$ to help improve the clinic, even to buy herself and others clean clothes, set up a laundry and showers etc. fine that she gives of herself but if she does not give her money she is not such an altruist as the book apparently sets out to prove.... she is suffering from some things and letting others suffer for no reason. she could HIRE some trained help and get supplies by using her $.

Shalini said...

Yup, it's an all round horrendous book....one of the worst I've ever read. It's a miracle that it ever got published.

Anonymous said...

I really liked the book. The stories of the different characters weaved very slightly, but didn't tangle. The recurring ravens where also a nice detail, along with the many others that saturate the book. @Shalini: This book actually got high praise from famous writers, and won the Pacific NW Book Award.

Shalini said...

I suppose everyone has their own interpretation of what a good book is! That's the beauty of it all. Reading my old review and comment, I sound very harsh. I would like to re-read this book and see what I think of it now.

Also, I think it's a case of reading it as an Indian and seeing what foreigners think of a place that I am familiar with or as someone who is completely new to the area. The perspective makes a lot of difference.