Cover Image: India Bound

India Bound

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Member Reviews

"India Bound"  is Shelley Buck's second book about her adventurous and perilous land journeys to India in the 1970's, before war made that kind of trip almost impossible. After her first trip, recounted in "East", she recovered and regrouped in Germany and Sweden, where a feeling of unfinished mission drove her to return to India with the ambitious aspiration expressed in the new book's subtitle, "The Making of a Woman Journalist".

Before Shelley even sets out for India again, she soaks up the grim post-war atmosphere in West Berlin and the more prosperous society in Stockholm and its surroundings. She describes those days with the unique perspective of a would-be journalist who has to make her living through odd jobs on the fringes of Western European societies where her language skills are limited. She manages to compare and contrast those cultures with each other, as well as with the American culture of her background, and her recent experiences in the Middle East and India. She gives striking examples of each and finds both historical and modern interconnections between all the regions in language and customs.

Now, with this new vision, she has to see India again to put it all into a larger perspective and try to find her place as a feminist in the modern world where ancient cultures are changing and disappearing, and new roles for women are emerging.

Her travels through Nepal and India are arduous and life-threatening but full of encounters with unusual people and situations that resonate over time and place, and provide vivid snapshots of moments in a world that has changed  irrevocably in the last 45-or so-years.
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I love travel memoirs and I really enjoyed this.

Until recently, I had never heard of travelling overland to eg. India-I thought sailing or flying was the only way to travel these kind of distances. I love travel memoirs so I knew this would be interesting. I do have this author's first book, ‘East: A Woman on the Road to Kathmandu’, but haven't read it yet. It would be interesting to see how this works as a standalone. It absolutely did-and made me hungry to read her other book too. She longed to go back to India. This book covers her second journey there and is an interesting and fascinating read. 

The book got off to a great start, she captured the atmosphere perfectly. Stark differences between her home in America and where she was staying in Berlin with Eva, a friend. At this time, when she'd gone on her trip to India and Nepal she developed and printed her own photos. She decided to become a journalist-she already did photography, and wrote-she could use those skills to earn herself a better living and travel. That was the theory-but how would she start?

About more than just India. Shelley's travels take you to Germany, Sweden, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Greece, Istanbul, Tehran, Afghanistan, then to India. As she says, she doesn't mind, the actual getting to India will be an important part of the journey, rather than just flying straight there. More of an adventure, I think. Along the way, she includes plenty of info and history about the places, and the foods.

That's why I love memoirs; you get to hear about places and things you've never heard of before, never been to etc. and, if it's all written about and described, as in this book, it's like you're going there with the author. She mentions some of the events going on in the world at the time of her journey. She also tells of her adventures, her thoughts and feelings, illness, and people she meets and travels with.

As she often mentions her photography, I was a little disappointed not to see photos in the book. I wondered if she would perhaps put a link in the book to some pictures on her website?

Thank you to the publishers and Netgalley for providing me with a pre-publication copy of this book.
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