The Impressionist

3.59 avg rating
( 2,224 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780525946427: The Impressionist

Fathered, through circuitous circumstances, by an Englishman, Pran Nath Razdan, the boy who will become the Impressionist, was passed off by his Indian mother as the child of her husband, a wealthy man of high caste. Growing up spoiled in a life of luxury just down river from the Taj Mahal, at fifteen the news of Pran's true parentage is revealed to his father and he is tossed out into the street--a pariah and an outcast. Thus begins an extraordinary, near-mythical journey of a young man who must reinvent himself to survive--not once, but many times.

Imprisoned by a brothel and dressed in women's clothes, his sensuous beauty is exploited as he is made to become Rukhsana, a pawn in a game between colony and empire. To a depraved British Major he becomes Clive, an object of desire taught to be a model English schoolboy. Escaping to Bombay he begins a double life as Robert, dutiful foster child to a Scottish missionary couple and as Pretty Bobby, errand boy and sometime pimp to the tawdry women of the city's most notorious district.

But as political unrest begins to stir, Pran finds himself in the company of a doomed young Englishman-an orphan named Jonathan Bridgeman. Having learned quickly that perception is a ready replacement for reality, Pran soon finds himself on a boat bound for Southampton where, with Bridgeman's passport, he will begin again. First in London, then at Oxford, the Impressionist hones his chameleon-like skills, making himself whoever and whatever he needs to be to obtain what he desires.

From Victorian India to Edwardian London, from an expatriate community of black Americans in Paris to a hopeless expedition to study a lost tribe of Africa, Hari Kunzru's unforgettable novel dazzles with its artistry and wit while it challenges with its insights into what it means to be Indian or English, black or white, and every degree that lies between them.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

The antihero of The Impressionist, Hari Kunzru's daringly ambitious first novel, is half English and half Indian. In the Raj of the 1920s, the racial and social divides are enormous, but Pran Nath is able to bridge them, crossing from one side to another in a series of reinventions of his own personality. He begins as the spoiled child of an Indian lawyer, but circumstances thrust him out of his pampered adolescence into the teeming and dangerous life of the streets. After a bewildering period as one of the pawns in Machiavellian political and sexual scheming in the decadent court of a minor Maharajah, he escapes to Bombay. There he is taken up by a half-demented Scottish missionary and his wife, but Pran Nath prefers to slope off to the city's red-light district whenever he can. During a time of riot and bloodshed, the chance of re-creating himself as an English schoolboy destined for public school and Oxford presents itself, and he takes it. But this is not his final transformation.

In certain ways Kunzru is almost too ambitious. There is so much crammed onto the pages of The Impressionist that some of it, almost inevitably, doesn't work as well as it might. However, as the shapeshifting Pran Nath moves from one identity to another, knockabout farce mixes with satire, social comedy with parody. And beneath the comic exuberance and linguistic invention, there is an intelligent and occasionally moving examination of notions of self, identity, and what it means to belong to a class or society. --Nick Rennison, Amazon.co.uk

About the Author:

Born in London and raised in Essex, Hari Kunzru is a freelance journalist and editor. He has written for a variety of English and international publications, including The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, The Economist, and Wired and was named "Young Travel Writer of the Year" by the Observer in 1999. This is his first novel.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Kunzru, Hari
Published by Dutton Adult
ISBN 10: 052594642X ISBN 13: 9780525946427
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Your Online Bookstore
(Houston, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Dutton Adult. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 052594642X Ships promptly. Bookseller Inventory # GMF5238GAGG021417H0705A

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 6.24
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Kunzru, Hari
Published by New York, New York, U.S.A.: E P Dutton (2002)
ISBN 10: 052594642X ISBN 13: 9780525946427
New Soft cover First Edition Signed Quantity Available: 1
Seller
R & B Diversions LLC
(Stratford, WI, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description New York, New York, U.S.A.: E P Dutton, 2002. Soft cover. Book Condition: New. No Jacket. 1st Edition. author signed ADVANCE READING COPY thus first edition in trade paperback format. unused, a very nice copy with no marks, not remaindered, not exlib, etc. signed & dated by author on title page, no inscription. fiction hardcover. Signed by Author(s). Bookseller Inventory # 1161

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 8.00
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.00
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Hari Kunzru
Published by Dutton Adult (2002)
ISBN 10: 052594642X ISBN 13: 9780525946427
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Dutton Adult, 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX052594642X

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 8.24
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Kunzru, Hari
Published by Dutton Adult (2002)
ISBN 10: 052594642X ISBN 13: 9780525946427
New Hardcover Signed Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Sequitur Books
(Boonsboro, MD, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Dutton Adult, 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. *Autographed by author.* Clean, unmarked pages. Fine binding and cover. Hardcover and dust jacket. Ships daily. Signed. Bookseller Inventory # 1505220065

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 9.99
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.00
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Kunzru, Hari
Published by Dutton Adult (2002)
ISBN 10: 052594642X ISBN 13: 9780525946427
New Hardcover First Edition Signed Quantity Available: 8
Seller
Garys Books
(Apache Junction, AZ, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Dutton Adult, 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: As New. 1st Edition. Signed by Author(s) 052594642X First edition. First printing. NOT inscribed clipped or marked in anyway. Signed on the title page. Securely wrapped and shipped in a box. Bookseller Inventory # 001600

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 10.00
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.00
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Hari Kunzru
Published by Dutton Adult (2002)
ISBN 10: 052594642X ISBN 13: 9780525946427
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Dutton Adult, 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 052594642X

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 21.34
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Kunzru, Hari
Published by Dutton Adult (2002)
ISBN 10: 052594642X ISBN 13: 9780525946427
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 2
Seller
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Dutton Adult, 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P11052594642X

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 30.52
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 2.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds