Archive for April 10th, 2009

April 10, 2009

Gir Lions and Tigers and Sloth Bears, oh my

When I wrote about the Willard Price adventure books a few months ago I neglected to mention Tiger Adventure, the thirteenth book in the series and the only one I hadn’t read. It’s set in India, and I was looking forward to a host of hilarious inaccuracies.

Amazingly, there aren’t that many. It is somewhat bewildering that the main characters seem able to hop between the Gir forest and the Himalayas as if they were next door to each other. It is also a bit worrying to learn that the British ruled in India for three hundred years (but what’s a century here or there?) but on the whole, Price seems to have done his research.

India still figures as a land of dust and heat and cockroaches and fleas, however. Indian prisons are hellish (I’ve never been in one, but I imagine they’re pretty uncomfortable), Indian cops are unpleasant – though at least Price doesn’t have his young heroes attempt to bribe them. Everyone is superstitious and believes in the abominable snowman – except the people who try to cheat you into buying relics of it.

One thing I did enjoy was that Price has young Roger Hunt pull out the old “I’m amazed so many Indians speak English!” thing so that the logical response can be made. People who read Tiger Adventure as children (hardly any, apparently), at least, might know better than to congratulate Indians they meet on their English because it’s wonderful and they’re amazed and however did we do it?

One takes what one can.