Deep River by Shusaku Endo

My hit parade shows Deep River at position 4; not because it’s not a great book, but just because the competition is so tough. (I guess that makes Shusaku-San feel a lot better):

1. Godric
2. Holy the Firm
3. Their Eyes Were Watching God
4. Deep River
5. The God of Small Things
6. A Prayer for Owen Meany
7. Madame Bovary
8. Evidence of Things Unseen

I experienced Deep River as an easy read – more straightforward than a lot of the earlier stuff. His is a classic “characters in a submarine” approach with a textbook Christ figure thrown in (Otsu). And yet – possibly because of that – it is a great book.

He seems to truly understand India – I am forced to say “seems to”, otherwise I would be implying that I have a good understanding of India. And I don’t. To me, India is a complex but fascinating place. Any people who can invent magnificent curries has to have greatness in them. (Oh what I would give for a red lamb curry right now!). Don’t get me started on curries.

Okay, I’m started. (Refer to my Welcome message, top right of blog) Anna and I lived in Hillbrow, Johannesburg for a year or so. Down on street level there was a hole in a wall where an Indian couple had a little curry shop. They would bring the curry up to your apartment if you phoned them. There might have been a roach or two cooked in there from time to time (I honestly don’t want to know) but oh! what curries! The sweat would stream down our faces, clear, watery snot dripping from our noses as our sinuses got blasted wide open as if someone had stuck tiny sticks of dynamite up our nostrils and lit their miniscule fuses. But oh! the flavor. (We’re talking about curry here, so it’s flavor, not flavor).

Anna mixes her own curry from the constituent spices. It’s a wondrous thing, I tell you. I wonder what’s for dinner – I shall have a heart-to-heart with her. I would have loved to say tote a tote but this damned philistine blog software does not have diacriticals unless you laboriously code them in with Alt-Numeric Keypad shtuff.

Anyway, that’s my book discussion on Deep River. All the rest is in the book. If you want to know what’s in the book, read the damned book.

Until next time

Your friendly neighborhood curmudgeon.

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