Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

Nobel Laureate Summer Reading – Part 1

Tidbit #1 from Rajendra Pachauri’s 2010 novel. HSBC, the huge multinational bank, has linked its brand to this strange, stilted prose.

I’m currently wrapping up a big project, so time is scarce. My project involves Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. As part of my due diligence, I’ve finally starting reading Pachauri’s 2010 novel, Return to Almora.

The Times of India has a slide show of photos taken at the Mumbai book launch. It reveals that Rahul Bose, a Bollywood actor, was on hand. So was Mukesh Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Industries.

According to the Reliance website, that corporation owns “businesses in the energy and materials value chain,” has annual revenues “in excess of US$66 billion,” is a Fortune Global 500 company, and “is the largest private sector company in India.”

But what really fascinates me is the fact that the book launch was sponsored not only by the publisher, Rupa & Co., but by HSBC.


click for full slide show

This multinational bank is another uber valuable company. At the moment, it’s worth £137 billion. (Royal Dutch Shell, which tops the list on the London Stock Exchange, is currently worth £145 billion.)

It isn’t clear to me why a bank would link its brand to this particular work of fiction. But hey, it’s summer here in Canada and we have a time-honoured tradition of reading trashy novels on the beach.

So, for the next several days, as I make my way through Return to Almora (my Kindle tells me I’m currently 17% complete), I’ll share some of its strange, stilted prose here.

And remember, folks, as tells us, this was written by a “Nobel laureate.”

The following morsel is from Chapter 2, which is titled The Child with a Celestial Fancy:

Sunita and Sheila, when they were alone, shared their most intimate secrets and had several laughs together. They had met just last evening and exchanged stories about their sexual experiences. Sheila had described a recent occasion, when she hadn’t used a contraceptive during intercourse with her husband. As soon as the act was over, she rushed to the bathroom and spent twenty minutes douching herself thoroughly. Prem did not even bother to find out what was taking her so long. When she returned to bed, she found him fast asleep.

…Unlike Sheila, Sunita was less forthcoming when it came to sharing the details of her sex life. She merely said that she kept small pieces of sponge, which she promptly inserted whenever she and Amar were ready to make love.



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