A Strange Kind of Paradise

A Strange Kind of Paradise

India Through Foreign Eyes

Summary

A Strange Kind of Paradise is an exploration of India’s past and present, from the perspective of a foreigner who has lived in India for many years. Sam Miller investigates how the ancient Greeks, the Romans, the Chinese, Arabs, Africans, Europeans and Americans – everyone really, except for Indians themselves – came to imagine India.

His account of the engagement between foreigners and India spans the centuries from Alexander the Great to Slumdog Millionaire. It features, among many others, Thomas the Apostle, the Chinese monk Xuanzang, Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta, Vasco da Gama, Babur, Clive of India, several Victorian pornographers, Mark Twain, E. M. Forster, Allen Ginsberg, the Beatles and Steve Jobs. Interspersed between these tales is the story of Sam Miller’s own 25-year-long love affair with India.

The result is a spellbinding, 2,500-year-long journey through Indian history, culture and society, in the company of an author who informs, educates and entertains in equal measure, as he travels in the footsteps of foreign chroniclers, exposes some of their fabulous fantasies and overturns long-held stereotypes about race, identity and migration. At once scholarly and thought-provoking, delightfully eccentric and laugh-out-loud funny, this book is destined to become a much-loved classic.

Reviews

  • Sam Miller has written a wonderfully witty, wise, idiosyncratic and properly hybrid book that achieves the near-impossible. It is at once a touching personal memoir, a droll and discursive travelogue and an erudite work of literary criticism which somehow manages to be, at the same time, a hugely entertaining history of the world's often confused dialogue with South Asia over three thousand years. It is also, almost as an after-thought, a most moving love letter to India.
    William Dalrymple, author of City of Djinns

About the author

Sam Miller

Sam Miller was born and brought up in London, but has spent much of his adult life in India. He is a former BBC journalist and is the author of Delhi: Adventures in a Megacity (2009), Blue Guide: India (2012) and A Strange Kind of Paradise: India Through Foreign Eyes (2014). He is also the translator of The Marvellous (But Authentic) Adventures of Captain Corcoran (2016) by Alfred Assollant.
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