Portobello £12.99 (360pp)£11.69 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Dreaming in Hindi, By Katherine Russell Rich
Friday 08 October 2010
This gem of a book deserves to outshine the narcissistic platitudes of Eat, Pray, Love. After crises in both health and career, Rich "no longer had the language to describe my own life. So I decided I'd borrow someone else's". She went to India not to imbibe some mish-mash mysticism but to learn Hindi via "total immersion" in the lakeside city of Udaipur.
As well as a memoir of spiritual recovery, the result amounts to the sharpest, clearest and most illuminating book about the challenge – and non-mystical magic – of language-learning any reader could want.
Bursting with character, charm and comedy, her Rajasthani year of "life in translation" also delves genially into the linguistic mysteries of the mind. An utter delight, and a true revelation.
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