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Old 11-25-2008, 12:31 PM   #21
Barcey
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Historical Fiction is one of my favourite genres right now but reading this book highlighted one of the limitations in most historical fiction. To engage the reader most authors give the central characters the same sense of humour, beliefs and attitudes of reader today. A Passage to India takes you back in time to the social attitudes and interactions of the time and it's a difficult trip to take. I found it hard to relate to nightly entertainment as sitting around sucking on a hookah, verbally jousting with friends and blurting out poetry but then I realized that this was college except that it was music instead of poetry.

I also found it difficult to relate to the incident in the cave as the major event. It's sad to think that far worse things happen in the subways of major cities every day. It made me recall an episode of the TV show "The Amazing Race" where the couples had to ride a packed train in India and the women were getting groped but couldn't move. It's sad that something that was the central traumatic event in this book is now something that's engineered as entertainment for TV.

I did enjoy the book for what it was. I imagine that the views on marriage that were expressed were very controversial at the time but today it's a common attitude. It came across as just typical conversation rather then something radical.

I really don't know a lot of the history of India during this period so I felt that the symbolism was lost on me. I felt that the relationship between Assis and Fielding was supposed to be symbolic of the relationship between India and Britain.
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