Book review of ‘Chasing the Monsoon’

Finished reading the book ‘Chasing the Monsoon’ by Alexander Frater. This is my review of the novel

Chasing the Monsoon

‘Chasing the Monsoon’ is a travel book by Alexander Frater where he describes his journey through India following the Indian monsoon. Travelling through many states and cities, he tells the stories of the people whose lives are touched upon by the monsoons. In a parallel track, he describes his childhood and how he inherited an interest towards nature and meteorology from his father and grand-father.

Frater starts in Trivandrum, Kerala where the monsoon arrives first and then moves upwards. Being from Kerala and having been there during that time I could experience the thrill and joy of Keralites before the arrival of monsoons which Frater describes in the book. He witnesses the country’s first monsoon showers in the beautiful Kovalam beach. The beauty of ‘God’s own country’ is magnified by the monsoons and Frater’s attempt to portray them is commendable. The journey continues and he follows the monsoon to Goa and then Bombay. Along the way he is continuously trying to get permit to get into Cherrapunji, which was the wettest place on earth(currently it is Mawsynram) due to civil unrest. He gets entangled in the bureaucratic hierarchy but ultimately succeeds in getting a permit. Frater explains why Cherrapunji is close to his heart and hence wants it to be the place where the journey should culminate. The description of Cherrapunji is magnificent to say the least.

The beauty of the book is that even though he describes the romanticism of the Indian monsoons, he also makes a conscious effort to highlight the plight of many who face trouble during the rainy season. Both the aspects are complemented well.

A wonderful book

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