Share

Impressions Of Africa

Impressions Of Africa

Raymond Roussel's travelogue, Impressions Of Africa, 1910 about passengers of a shipwrecked vessel in the imaginary Ponukele is novelist Sarnath Banerjee's favourite

Staff Writer
July 25 , 2014
01 Min Read

My favourite travel book will have to be this quirky little classic by this multifaceted Frenchman. A poet, novelist, playwright and a Surrealist, Raymond Roussel lived an extravagant life, and told extravagant stories. Opening with an unbelievably bizarre coronation scene in an African ‘empire’ called Ejur, he spins an irresistible tale of a group of wandering bohemians trying to find their way to Buenos Aires, who set up a theatre company just to pass the time. 

 

Modelled on classic nineteenth-century travelogues, this tour de force of ‘travel’ literature was written by Roussel without leaving his Parisian hotel, let alone France. I was struck by a similar situation when I went to Congo a few years ago to work on a project involving the child soldiers affected by the ethnic conflict. A mix of harsh circumstances and the depressing scene of these orphaned children made me retreat to my hotel room. 

 

I spent most of my time there reading about spiders and equatorial rain and King Leopold’s Ghost. Today, I can pass myself off as a specialist on Congo.


Graphic novelist Sarnath Banerjee’s latest book is The Harappa Files



All Tags

Here to there

Explore Directions(Routes) and more...
to Go

Other Editions

Outlook’ is India’s most vibrant weekly news magazine with critically and globally acclaimed print and digital editions. Now in its 23rd year...

Explore All
  • Check out our Magazine of the month
  • Offbeat destinations
  • In-depth storytelling
  • Stunning pictures
  • Subscribe