What are the key ingredients of a good read? You might say, a dash of spice, mixed with humor, and seasoned with suspense, toasted with a glass of drama. Well, Anurag Mathur’s ‘The Inscrutable Americans’ is just that kind of book, which one would enjoy at a coffee table, or on a lovely day with sparkling sunshine, romantic rainfall, or for that matter even in the bathroom.
The novel gives a completely humorous take, with a pun intended in many situations. It narrates the experiences of an Indian student named Gopal, of a year spent in a small university campus in USA. He hails from a small town in
India, named Jajau, also known as the ‘Paris of Madhya Pradesh’, by the proud locals. The whole novel revolves around Gopal, Gopal around America, and
America around him! The theme of the book is his comic discovery of
America, his growth and maturing, through his many adventures there.Gopal comes to
America to complete his chemical engineering. His English is comical, and his puerile innocence charms the reader. The letters written by him to his family in his version of English are worth reading. His classmate Randy familiarizes him with the American lifestyle. Unfortunately he is faced with hurdles at every step. Thus, Gopal portrays the character of ‘the ambassador of his country par excellence.’ In the broader context, Anurag Mathur differentiates India from
America, through his fictitious protagonist. He not only compares the differences but even brings out issues like racial discrimination and terrorism, mixed with sexual abuse, issues very relevant to today’s age and time. The author manages to maintain the flow of the story admirably. The reader does not encounter stagnation and saturation points. Being able to identify with the characters and situations generates greater interest in the readers. The title ‘The Inscrutable Americans’, is appealing as the character of Gopal, has an amusing outlook towards Americans who he believes to be mysterious. The reader fails to find any lose ends. The writing style of Anurag Mathur is polished. The book can be rated as a must read for all ages. The novel has an intensity and a depth of meaning which goes beyond the obvious comic implications of the situations that emerge at the onset.. I would love to see a sitcom based on this book. Not a bad investment at all!