Crammed with stories about artists and artworks, the section on Renaissance is much the best part of the book by Hughes
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For me, a travelogue is a miracle when it takes me to a place I will never make it to. This need not be a specific configuration of latitude and longitude alone, but a state of mind combined with geography and history. This is the place I was transported to by Samaresh Basu’s epic travel book Amritakumbher Shawndhaney (In Search of the Nectar-Pot), which he wrote under the pseudonym of Kalkut. Basu would often leave Calcutta to set off on a journey across a part of India he had never been to. Nectar-Pot is the outcome of his visit to the Kumbh Mela. The novelist’s sensibility in Basu turns the book into a sequence of dramatic events, bringing together people from every corner of India — mostly the poor and the oppressed, whom Basu identified with the most in his writings. A committed Leftist, he examines the momentous display of belief through the analytical scepticism of his sociopolitical beliefs, and offers a startling, unique and a deeply moving human document that is almost accidentally a travelogue.
Arunava Sinha translates classic, modern and contemporary Bengali fiction into English.
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