If you’re like me, you love No Reservations, starring the delightful Anthony Bourdain, on the Travel Channel. I can’t remember which season we’re in, but new episodes are airing every Monday at 10 p.m. (eastern time), and I’ve been watching every one so far. Already this season rocks (Tony came to Detroit in his heartland episode!), but imagine my surprise when last night’s episode was devoted to the Kerala region of India.
This might not mean anything to you, but it does if (like me) you’ve just finished The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (review here). You see, The God of Small Things takes place in this southern-most region of India, the literary landscape dotted with towering elephants, mango trees, and the waterways that link this region to the Indian Ocean. Watching this episode of No Reservations, I felt the book return to life for me. I had a hard time imagining this landscape while reading the book, but I’m thrilled my understanding has been fleshed out to include the colors, sounds, and sights of Kerala.
Of course, it’s always best to physically visit the worlds where our books take place. But sometimes a limited travel budget leaves me turning to cable, and I think that’s OK. And so if you were interested in The God of Small Things before, check out the episode guide on the Travel Channel website. Then, watch Bourdain scarf down some fish head curry from the episode itself (which should re-air next Monday at 9 eastern).
Also on Arundhati Roy, a Twitter followee (@HarvF) alerted me to this article in The Reactionary yesterday—Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers—which he claims won’t please Roy’s fans. I’m not sure about that, but the article focuses on what Roy has been up to since writing The God of Small Things, namely political writing. Apparently her signature style and grace has fallen to the wayside as she’s grown more radical, however I think the story is only another perspective on a complex woman. Plus, I find her political beliefs (even if they’ve only been adopted in the years following the publication of her only novel) an interesting window into why she sat down to write The God of Small Things in the first place. But that’s just me; let me know what you think!