Book Review – Bengal, The Cold Weather 1873 – Joe Roberts

Travelogues have their own charm. No matter in which place they are set up, who is travelling and in what era he is travelling, there is something about travelogues which gets on to me and I thoroughly enjoy reading them. What makes a good travelogue is the power of observing things and the way travel stories are narrated. One such travelogue by Joe Roberts dropped in two days back at my place. Bengal, The Cold Weather 1873 by Joe Roberts.

The travelogue is set up in 1873. Edward Lear, a landscape painter and his travel partner cum servant Giorgio who is from Albania and also a nonsense poet, travel from Bengal to Calcutta to honour the invitation sent by Lord Northbrook, the Viceroy. Right from the beginning, Lear meets people who are weird in their own sense and dealing with everyone becomes tough for him on many fronts. Lear is dealing with an epileptic condition as well. He is afraid that the world must not come to know about his condition and he keeps fighting with it all his life.

The way Joe Roberts has written this book, it shows how intense research he has done to come up with something like this. The characters, the anecdotes and the way he has narrated the whole plot makes it interesting, witty, disturbing at the same time and in equal proportions. Set up in gothic eras, the author has left no stone unturned to showcase the Bengal of those times. He himself has travelled a lot in Bangladesh and West Bengal and is quite fascinated with its beauty and its offerings. His first book “Abdul’s Taxi To Kalighat” was also set up in Bengal and was very well received by critics and readers.

This 130 page book which is divided into 12 chapters containing dialogues, weird poetry, experiences is definitely a light read for someone who enjoys travelogues. I am sure it wont disappoint you.

Book Source : Westland Books/Tranquebar Press
Genre : Travelogue
ISBN : 978-93-81626-89-4

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