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From joy and wonder to anger and despair

Monday, July 28, 2014

I’ve reached another milestone: I have finished reading Indian Magic by Balraj Khanna—my first e-book that is not a Kindle book. I wasn’t quite sure if I could read an entire book on a computer screen, but it turns out anywhere is a good place to read an enjoyable book.
The world of books is opening up to include e-readers and audio books that can be downloaded on iPods and computers. The e-book market has created a whole new space for small publishers.   

Indian Magic, published by HopeRoad Publishers in London, is a humorous look at an Indian immigrant named Raavi who arrives quite unceremoniously in England. With masterful verbal and situational irony, Khanna captures Raavi’s trials and tribulations as an immigrant. Raavi crosses the sea from Bombay to Genoa, and travels by train and sea across Europe to make that English Channel crossing. He arrives with an employment voucher issued by the British consulate in Delhi.

From the beginning of his story it is clear that Raavi is a well-rounded character with many personalities. First, there’s the dreamy newcomer literally just off the boat; then the bungling tourist-like immigrant. There’s the struggling immigrant grappling with nostalgia and wonder, and the embarrassed immigrant who sees the stereotypical images that define his people in a brand-new setting. They’re all rolled into one conflicted character, awkward and resolute in his goal to fit into a new society.