New York, NY, United States | Member Since 2009
Though I am, in my late-twenties, barely old enough to be nostalgic about my own youth, what this book did was make me nostalgic for a era in British history -- "Between the end of the Chatterley ban/ And the Beatles' first LP" -- that I did not and could never belong to. The narrator is an innocent describing the history of his own innocence, a youth that coincided with the arrival of the 1960s (which only arrived for some, as the narrator reminds us cheekily) and never, until the very end, loses his wide-eyed stance towards the world. The narrator is almost spared from knowing the kind of truth that makes adults out of others. Almost spared, but not quite, for as several other reviewers have noted, Barnes gives the tale an unpredictable ending, one that makes the reader, like the narrator, cast back in time and try to uncover the steps that lead to the novel's denouement.
An excellent narration, pitch-perfect, and comic to boot.
Well done and highly recommended!
The narrator of "The Indian Clerk" is a reserved, gay mathematician (G. Hardy, a historical figure) from a middle-class background who, despite belonging to one of the most elite intellectual societies of his day, always feel a bit out-of-place in pre-WWI Cambridge. With a fellow mathematician, he manages to bring an obscure Indian mathematical genius, Ramanujan, to study and work at Cambridge. The book is a nostalgic account of an imagine relationship between the two men, one English, one Indian, who are united by their love of mathematics and divided by their cultural differences. A superb depiction of the pre-WWI and WWI era (one of my favorites to read about), as well as a bittersweet tale of a man's love for another.
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