Varanasi Visited and Revisited

I've slipped into the second half of Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, and the humorous momentum continues.

from Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi
Geoff Dyer

Nothing made any difference, so we rode roughshod over everything.  Everything except a manhole, completely uncovered. We veered round it in the nick of time even though the hazard was clearly indicated--by a half brick placed inches from the rim. Cars, buses and tuk-tuks reeled into view and shrieked past. I've never had any enterprising ideas, but it occurred to me that there was scope for a simulated version of this experience, a computer game called Varanasi Death Trip or simply--in homage to Scorsese and De Niro--Tuk-tuk Driver. The idea would be to travle from the Taj Ganges to Manikarnika without getting crushed, losing a limb or having your nerves shredded.

The book has surprising delights, but I am sometimes appalled at some of the material within it as well.  As I think I've noted before, there are tinges of Philip Roth in his least tasteful, least appealing about some of the scenes in the book.  And this is difficult because I'm not particularly interested in what other people do behind closed doors--in fact, frankly, I'd prefer not to know.


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