An accomplished history of the Buddha, An End to Suffering is also a deeply personal story -- the story of Pankaj Mishra's search for meaning, for truth and peace in the modern world and, specifically, in post-colonial, independent India. As he describes his travels to unearth the origins of the Buddha, Mishra offers glimpses into his own quest for enlightenment, from childhood to September 11, from family background to friends met and made, from lessons learned to achievements as a writer. Through this, Mishra reveals the parallels between his time and the Buddha's, between their respective journeys -- and that of their country -- in search of progress and reconciliation.
From Bollywood stars in Bombay worrying whether they are sexy enough to a heroin addict in Pakistan mocking jihad; from Indian mafia dons with political ambitions to Afghans waiting for American benevolence; from Kashmiri Muslims longing for democracy to Tibetan Buddhists fighting to preserve religion in politics – Temptations of the West is a travel book unlike any other. In a narrative as revealing as it is profound, Pankaj Mishra’s new book dissolves the old boundaries between East and West, challenging every romantic cliché about the conflicts and dilemmas at the heart of the modern world. ‘Mishra offers a compelling blend of memoir, narrative history, politics, religion and philosophy. Thoughtful, intelligent and rigorous, this is a deep, insightful study of the very notion of modernity’ Observer ‘Mishra is a precise observer and a subtle analyst, keener to understand than to blame . . . In a thousand details – such as the grimace he catches on the face of a sycophantic businessman as a politician’s bodyguard rinses curry-stained hands in his swimming pool – he salutes humanity’s paradoxes and wit’ The Economist ‘Wonderful. The narrative is nterspersed with sophisticated cultural commentary . . . and, if anything, the point of this important book is to collapse fallacious distinctions between East and West’ Condé Nast Traveller
Set in contemporary India, The Romantics tells the story of Samar, a young man who goes to live in Benares to avoid a small-town job and to lose himself in reading and a world beyond himself. But soon the realities of the bustling holy city begin to intrude as Samar is introduced to a world of Europeans, of modern India and of disappointed love. ‘If you buy one literary novel this year, make sure it’s this’ Amanda Craig, The Times, Summer Books ‘This bright new star is the real thing’ David Robson, Sunday Telegraph