Monday, February 21, 2011

Example Indian

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young Indian-American in possession of some years’ experience of India must be in want of a book contract.

Uh-oh, who's it this time? I haven't read Anand Giridharadas's recent book (nor am I likely to), but Mihir Sharma's review manages a snark score of 0.2 taibbi (in honor of Matt Taibbi).

Here's an excerpt:

The man [Example Indian], blissfully unaware of the burden of representation he is about to be asked to carry, will share his story. Giridharadas listens, his formidable New York Times- and McKinsey-trained interpretive skills clicking into high gear. The man will explain to Giridharadas why he turned to Maoism, or why he is divorcing his wife. Giridharadas reports the man’s words, and then explains to us why he is turning to Maoism (because Nehruvianism failed an idealistic generation) or why he is divorcing his wife (because Indians are ill-prepared for the work that comes with freedom). The Example Indian is finally summarised (“India’s complicated relationship with modernity and money cut through his own soul”) and — I am serious about this next bit — frequently compared, disparagingly, with a suitably upright or inspiring member of Giridharadas’ own family.

Hat tip to Smoke Screen.


  1. Dilip D'Souza said...

    That was one rip-roaring review. And I say this as someone whom Mihir Sharma has been critical of in the past ("Roadrunner") - though not quite as devastating as this one was.