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the Complete Review
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Indian Nocturne

Antonio Tabucchi

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To purchase Indian Nocturne

Title: Indian Nocturne
Author: Antonio Tabucchi
Genre: Novel
Written: 1984 (Eng. 1988)
Length: 88 pages
Original in: Italian
Availability: Indian Nocturne - US
Indian Nocturne - UK
Indian Nocturne - Canada
Indian Nocturne - India
Nocturne indien - France
Indisches Nachtspiel - Deutschland
Notturno indiano - Italia
  • Translated by Tim Parks
  • Italian title: Notturno indiano

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Our Assessment:

B+ : impressive brief, flitting novel of a Westerner travelling in India

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The National . 1/6/2013 Erika Banerji
The NY Times Book Rev. B+ 16/7/1989 Amy Edith Johnson

  From the Reviews:
  • "Tabucchi's India is the ephemeral site of a dreamlike state. What it offers is a mystical metaphor for all that is fluid and illusionary, happening but not quite existing. This image, of course, is Tabucchi's image of an India in the 1980s. Certainly a lot has changed there in the last couple of decades, but perhaps a part of India still retains that dreamlike quality, despite the onslaught of modernity." - Erika Banerji, The National

  • "Lighter than air in terms of plot and character, Indian Nocturne has the gravitational field of a black hole when it comes to the portentous, the gnomic, the elliptical." - Amy Edith Johnson, The New York Times Book Review

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       In Indian Nocturne a European man, the nameless narrator of the book, travels to India. Tabucchi describes the work as both an "insomnia" and a "journey". Like much of his work, there is a dream-like quality to it -- not gauzy, vague dreams, but, indeed, the waking trance of the insomniac.
       The book comes with an index of places of where the action that follows takes place, covering many facets of India, from seedy quasi-bordellos where young girls are for sale to the fancy Taj Mahal hotel in Bombay (Mumbai) to a bus stop some 50 km outside of Mangalore. The narrator travels with the Lonely Planet guide, of course, but he is not your usual tourist. He has come to look for Xavier, "a Portugese who lost his way in India", and he follows Xavier's vague traces throughout the huge country.
       The narrator has encounters with those who knew Xavier, and other Indians, and much of the story develops in the conversations that are related. As in most Tabucchi works there are no clear answers, no happy resolution. The narrator deals with India, affected by it as are all who visit it, and trying to make sense of it.
       Tabucchi manages to convey a great deal in these few pages. It is a rich portrait of slivers of the country, an impressive construction though one with little solidity or meat to it. An enjoyable, well-crafted little book. Recommended.

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Indian Nocturne: Reviews: Antonio Tabucchi: Other books by Antonio Tabucchi under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Italian author Antonio Tabucchi lived 1943 to 2012.

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