Review of Rahul Bhattacharya’s The Sly Company of People Who Care

January 10, 2012 § 1 Comment

A slightly delayed posting of my review of Rahul Bhattacharya’s The Sly Company of People Who Care for Pop Matters. Here’s an excerpt:

This is a book about Guyana, but it’s also in part about India, where the protagonist and the vast number of the Guyanese population locate their roots. Guyana, the protagonist informs his readers, “had the feel of an accidental place”. The protagonist of The Sly Company is a 20-something cricket journalist from Bombay who ups and leaves his job to spend a year in this accidental place. Up until this point, this book had only referred to India tangentially through the acknowledgement of the myriad ethnicities that people present-day Guyana. It spoke of a past India seen through the lens of colonialism that brought indentured labourers to emancipated Guyana from Calcutta and Bihar and other parts of India (alongside, in smaller numbers, people from Portuguese Madeira, China, other West Indian colonies). It spoke of a hyper-realised Bollywood India seen through the wistful eyes of Indian descendants of labourers who had never been “back”.

I wanted very much to like this book in an uncomplicated way, but perhaps the discomfort I had with it speaks more of Bhattacharya’s talent than a simple “I liked it!” This was the book review I was wrestling with when I wrote this post on Fanon.

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§ One Response to Review of Rahul Bhattacharya’s The Sly Company of People Who Care

  • Sankat says:

    A book which has come under much fire because it showcases Guyana for what it really is…raw, unexposed, open.
    Bhattacharya captures the essence of Guyana in this book. It leaves me a native Guyanese, uprooted and transplanted to the US with a lingering nostalgia. He showcases Guyana as the unique land it is to borrow a phrase -God’s own country-because of the natural beauty of the untouched plains but especially because of the hospitality of the people who live the Indian adage that the guest is divine , a rare thing to find elsewhere.

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