Once more I’m bereft because I’ve finished reading Frank Kusy’s latest book.
Chronologically, this one fits in between Kevin and I in India and Off the Beaten Track, two of his already published memoirs.
Frank Kusy is an Indian travel memoir writer, whose action packed books are such an enjoyable read, not only because of their informative almost laid-back style but also because of Frank’s self-effacing sense of humour. He’s very hard on himself and his own shortcomings in a totally hilarious way. I’ve found myself giggling and laughing out loud throughout all of his books. He is a painfully honest writer as far as his own actions are concerned and this comes through in all of his books. He could easily have painted himself as a hero but thankfully didn’t and the reader benefits. Frank tells it as it is and it is worth pointing out that the actions and events took place in his younger days back in the 80’s.
Frank is given the brief by his publishing company, Cadogan Books, to travel around the whole of India in 66 days and come up with a guidebook for ‘the well-heeled “middle-of-the-road” traveller’. The previous year Frank had travelled around India with Kevin, (see Kevin and I in India) a friend he acquired on that budget hippy shoestring trip around India staying in cheap cockroach infested ‘hotels’, so although an experienced traveller around India, he would be time constrained with the 66 day trip, but also a bit out of his comfort zone without any previous experience of staying in ‘well-heeled’ accommodation to draw on.
The resulting trip is full of richly described locations and events, sometimes hair raising, from palaces to street urchins, sacred cows to sacred temples.
Wherever Frank goes he is usually made welcome by individuals or families. He meets and befriends colourful characters along the way, including one that is out to thwart him and they all add to the story, but he discovers that he quite enjoys travelling alone.
He dines in interesting establishments with such delights as SCREAM BLED EGGS, JAM TOST and RAVISHING TANDOORIES on the menu.
Frank is a Buddhist and chanting for him is a way of life but quite often the chants become a bit frenetic as he uses them in extreme and often life-threatening circumstances to ensure his survival or a favourable outcome to a situation.
Does he make the deadline? Read the book and see.
I’ve always found India fascinating and this is another book by the author, where thanks to his descriptive powers, I can be transported there and see, feel and smell the scenery too.