Bantam Press 2015
I must confess right at the beginning: I have not read a single book by Forsyth.
Before all that, he has done so many things and has been to so many different places that one finally realizes that his writing is actually a result of experiences accrued during his hyperactive heydays. (He has been to many countries, that is, except India.) It is almost as if he was acquiring the raw materials required to put together a fruitful writing career in later life.
One wishes that he had revealed how this transformation actually took place, what changes occurred in his lifestyle thereof, and how he managed these changes without upsetting his family - which is what every writer hopes to achieve in his/her life.
Instead, we get to learn about Forsyth's many adventures of his life; such as cross-country treks, hitchhiking, lessons in flying, learning new languages, and nearly triggering a third world war.
His foray into Japan teaches us about the geisha culture and he also talks about Buddhism and Shintoism. Indeed, he talks of every religion except Hinduism. I am not sure as to why India and Hinduism do not figure in his experiences; most obvious guess would be that he never came to India.
That apart, it is probably due to the fact that all things Indian do not feature prominently in the West's scheme of things, as Rajiv Malhotra would point out. Forsyth makes only a passing mention about 1947; that too in the context of some Israeli occurrence, with no mention of the other significant event of that year.
I suppose 1947 was a bit of a non-event for the Britishers in those days - the days of the Raj were done and dusted, and they had other local things to keep them occupied.
All in all, an entertaining read.
Forget Jackal, read this far more exciting account of its writer's own life.
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