The story of the author’s move from New York to Delhi.
After living in Brooklyn for years, Prager (co-author: Poop Culture: How America Is Shaped by Its Grossest National Product, 2007) and his wife took up his company’s offer to move to India for 18 months. Leaving behind their Park Slope brownstone, Prager immediately fell in love with Delhi—at least for a while. “Five months later,” he writes, “I hated it.” The couple would “vacillate back and forth between the two extremes—love India, hate India, love India, hate India”—before finding a balance between the best and worst their new home had to offer. Prager structures the book as a guide for other expatriates, with chapters on food, shopping, workplace culture and transportation (especially Delhi’s traffic, about which Prager seethes). More than just a how-to guide, the book is an appealing memoir, as the author recounts his social blunders and interactions with curious neighbors. There are a few unsatisfactory moments along the way—e.g., his snarky swipes at New Yorkers and living in New York City feel dated and out of place. Prager’s wife never quite comes across as genuine, and readers learn more about her misadventures with India’s health care system than her work for a rural school trying to lift girls out of poverty. Some of the author’s “problems” may occasionally induce eye-rolling for some readers—in one chapter, he details how his need for “periodic respites from…driving past beggars and slums and sidewalk-sleeping laborers” meant taking a room in a five-star hotel so he could indulge in sushi for brunch at “one of the few places [he] trusted the fish.” These flaws aside, Prager is a solid storyteller, and the book is an enjoyable tour through an overwhelming and irresistible city.
A cute memoir of living in India with some advice for expatriates as well.