The Little Luxe Hong Kong is a pared-down handbook of the bustling city
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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
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