06 May, 2013

The Sly Company of People Who Care by Rahul Bhattacharya [Emma, Birkenhead Library]

Guyana is in mainland South America, bordered by Venezuela, Brazil and Surinam.   Guyana is beautiful and poor, it has a history of colonialism (Dutch, British), slavery (African) and indentured labour (Indian) which has led to racial-political tensions today, and a very interesting nation of people.  These are things I have learned since reading this book, and I am enriched. 

It's a novel, but it is a travel book too.  It is filled with gorgeous scenery, cricket talk and reggae music which made me think at first Guyana was in the Carribbean.  Rahul Bhattacharya has made a playlist of the of the ska, reggae, chutney, calypso, soca, steelpan, junkanoo, rake-n-scrape, dub, dancehall sounds which give atmosphere throughout.

The narrator of Sly Company of People Who Care is from India, and has decided to "To be a slow ramblin' stranger" for a year - in Guyana.  Because he went there briefly once before and liked it.  He loves cricket, reggae, drinking rum, and having adventures.  He is looking for something, he doesn't know what.  He is good at hanging out, and at speaking patois.  The narrator embraces life in Guyana and I thought he was almost becoming local himself.  Yet he ultimately retains the security of a return ticket home.  He was a traveller all along.

Title: The Sly Company of People Who Care
Author: Rahul Bhattacharya
ISBN: 780330534741
Published: 2011
Publisher: Picador

 - Emma, Birkenhead Library

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