8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The son as outsider to the marriage,
This review is from: Dreams Of Rivers And Seas (Hardcover)
'On reception of his mother's brief phone call announcing his father's death, John James took a deep breath, booked himself onto the first available flight to Delhi, had Elaine drive him to Heathrow, travelled towards the coming night and arrived at Indira Gandhi Airport to find the weather much cooler than expected.'
This opening sentence sets up the key protagonists and the setting for the exploration into a father's life by a son and into a different culture by a Westerner. Every relationship and every assumption about those relationships is questioned and explored from different points of view in the course of this beautifuly written novel. A biographer stands ready to document his take on Albert James' life and questions his widow on tragedies in Albert's past and on their highly interdependent lives together in so many different cultures. Meanwhile John starts to find his way into his father's most recent preoccupations and passions which include communcation through dance and spiders and their webs. He receives a cryptic letter from his father referring to his dreams about rivers and seas.
I am a big fan of the polymath Gregory Bateson so was intrigued to see that Albert James is an homage of a kind to him although the reader is urged not to learn about Bateson from the novel. It did prompt me to wonder about both characters and I will research more into some of the interconnections.
John has essentially been an outsider in his parents marriage. Just when he can't communicate directly with his father any longer he longs to know and understand more.
A very thought provoking novel.