The Sly Company of People Who Care, By Rahul Bhattacharya


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At the start of Rahul Bhattacharaya's debut, the novel's narrator, a cricket journalist from India, explains his intention to "renew" his life. His plan is to wander through Guyana, its forests and cities and out towards the border with Brazil.

Unlike VS Naipaul's protagonists, of whom it is hard not to be reminded, this young man doesn't act like an outsider, but immerses himself in a world "ripe with heat and rain" and shaped by African, Portuguese and East Indian pasts.

This fictional travelogue is almost over-crowded with potent personalities: "Hassa the dead-eyed mini-bus driver", a pair of Indian-Chinese cashiers, and it is probably best enjoyed as a series of sketches.