I met Jane Watson today. We didn’t get to chat for long, but she seemed like a warm and amiable person. Her first novel, Hindustan Contessa, was published by Picador in 2002.
An Australian couple, Milan and Tillie, travel to India to visit Milan’s Indian grandmother. Kidnapped by robbers and incarcerated in a cave, Tillie tells their story. Captured herself by her own sexual jealously and suspicions of Milan, she nevertheless endeavors to help him come to terms with his own Indian childhood spent with grandparents who held him hostage in Sundapur, while his parents traveled overseas. Family intrigue and crises of identity follow the couple as they travel across India in a hired car driven by the amusing and talented Ranjit who ultimately becomes much more than just their driver.
Against the colorful background of India and Venice, this novel tells a story of loss and rediscovered identity amidst magic, obsessions, goddesses and misconceptions in a land where reality and illusion seem to merge.
I haven’t read this book yet – the fact that it’s published in Australia may be part of the problem. Jane is a lovely person, though. If you’re interested in this type of novel, pick it up and let me know what you think.
Tags: jane watson