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The Impressionist (2002)

by Hari Kunzru

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1,2782411,686 (3.66)90
In India, at the birth of the last century, an infant is brought howling into the world, his remarkable paleness marking him out from his brown-skinned fellows. Revered at first, he is later cast out from his wealthy home when his true parentage is revealed. So begins Pran Nath's odyssey of self-discovery.… (more)
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English (23)  Vietnamese (1)  All languages (24)
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
This proved to be an exceptional novel to read while waiting at an Immagration office. Such a strange place, much like Old Trafford, the offices are unmistakingly dream factories. It would be unpleasant to wake most of the occupants. A friend from England raved over this novel and while I enjoyed such, it didn't sweep me away in a gale. It does make one ponder about those souls waiting in silence in bureaucratic queues. The veils of identity are quick and fungible. The consequences are a different narrative. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
An interesting story about Prath Nath, a boy who grew up in the 'lap of luxury' in India until at age 15, both his parents are dead and the servants kick him out of the house! They know his father was an Englishman, not Amar Nath and because he is a 'half breed' he is not worthy. He goes off into the world and becomes a servant of a sexual nature to the household of Nawab of Falehphur. After escaping there he is taken in by a missionary and his wife. During a riot and bloodshed, he uses an opportunity to his advantage. He goes to England posing as Johnathan Bridgman-claiming his identity. The end of the book makes for slow reading. I think there was too much going on. ( )
  camplakejewel | Sep 25, 2017 |
An appealing modern-day (and very grown up) _KIM_ (he actually quotes from Kipling throughout the novel). ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Who are we? Do we have an intrinsic self that we must be true to? If not, are we really anything at all? These huge themes underlie this amazing story of Pran/Bobby/Jonathan as he continuously re-invents himself in order to survive. At the age of fifteen, Pran's widowed father discovers he is not the biological father and banishes Pran from his Agra home. Left on the streets, Pran becomes a victim of human traffickers...he escapes and falls into other situations which have him becoming different people in order to meet the expectations of those he relies on.

Pran is an amazing character. His adventures contain a good mix of satire/humour and serious introspection which allows us to think about the broader implications of what is going on.

Well written, strong characters, good story, thought-provoking. Who could ask for more? ( )
  LynnB | Sep 1, 2015 |
I find it hard to figure out this one, it was certainly well-written and kept me wanting to read it but I never really connected with it. I felt like much of the Brittish colonial satire went past me and the main character (Pran/Bobby/Jonathan) was always a bit mysterious. With all the violence and racial biogtry, I find it hard to understand the cover blurbs about comic romp, etc. Some little humourous bits here and there, mostly satirical. I kept expecting him to finally catch up with his English father's or Indian mother's family in all his sprawl but instead it just careened wildly from one strange life to another. Good but lacking in something. I think this may be bound for crossing.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
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"Remember, I can change swiftly. It will all be as it was when I first spoke to thee under Zam-Zammah the great gun -"
"As a boy in the dress of white men - when I first went to the Wonder House. And a second time thou wast a Hindu. What shall the third incarnation be?" - Rudyard Kipling, Kim
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One afternoon, three years after the beginning of the new century, red dust which was once rich mountain soil quivers in the air.
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In India, at the birth of the last century, an infant is brought howling into the world, his remarkable paleness marking him out from his brown-skinned fellows. Revered at first, he is later cast out from his wealthy home when his true parentage is revealed. So begins Pran Nath's odyssey of self-discovery.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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