Like so many other young Westerners in the 60s and 70s, Matteo leaves home to search for spiritual enlightenment in the ashrams of India. He believes he finds it at the feet of ‘the Mother’, but down-to-earth Sophie, who accompanies him, does not find her inspiring so much as mysterious, and decides to trace the Mother’s own story – from her travels with an Indian dance troupe in Paris, Venice and New York, to her search for divine love in India.
Having recently been reminded of my previous liking for Anita Desai when I read ‘Clear light of Day’ I pounced on this one while at the library with the school children that I work with. However I have been really disappointed by it, and ultimately didn’t really know what Anita Desai was getting at. In a novel about the journey’s people take to find contentment or some sort of enlightenment, there are times when it almost feels like a (non funny) satire on the westerners that travelled to the Ashrams of India during the 70’s. However it is also the story of a fractured relationship between two people who are thoroughly unsympathetic, and I failed to care about at all. Naturally Anita Desai’s writing is beautiful, extremely evocative of time and place. Overall though I found this a bit tedious and confusing.