November 19, 2013
“When Frank teams up with Spud to become the largest wholesaler of hippy-Hindi glad rags in the UK, and to fulfil their dream of becoming rupee millionaires, he thinks he’s got it made. But what he’s made is a deal with the Devil.
Dodgy Frank Kusy, born into poverty from immigrant parents, learns to live on his wits––first as an unwitting money collector for Ronnie Kray, later as a Buddhist trader in London’s St Martin’s-in-the-Fields market. Then he meets up with thuggish ‘Spud’ who is so good at scaring people, notably the Petrovs, two encroaching Russian gangsters, that he hires him on the spot as his business partner.
It’s a deal with the Devil. Spud is a loose cannon, liable to blow up at any moment. The two travel to India to become the largest wholesaler of hippy-Hindi glad rags in the UK, and to fulfil their dream of becoming rupee millionaires.
Along the way, they pick up a motley crew of kooky characters––Ram, a lovable, crutch-bound Rajasthani, George, an irascible American, Nick and Anna, a quirky Canadian couple, Susie, a Dagenham girl gone ‘native’, and Rose, the secret love of Ram’s life. These become the ‘Pushkar Posse’, a group of oddball traveler-entrepreneurs who meet once a year to have fun and make money in equal measure.”
This is a book about a young man called Frank, who travels to India in an effort to try and find himself. He ends up also finding a trade, which starts out well, until he teams up with Spud. The story follows Frank through the ensuing decade, with the reader walking his journey by his side. The understory is one in which he is seeking the approval of his loving Hungarian mother, and until he feels he has this he can’t really accept himself. Kusy’s style of writing is relaxed and chatty, and as a result the reading experience rather feels like that achieved from sitting down next to Frank and having a friendly and entertaining cuppa. What is perhaps most amazing about this book is the fact that it’s based on truth, which for me makes it even richer and funnier than it would have been had it been pure fiction. Kusy’s powers of description are superlative, and his story will have you laughing out loud and shaking your head most of the way through the book. This book is aimed at the adult reader, has a gentle pace and is a very entertaining read. It’s a mix of travel book, memoir and comedy all rolled into one.
The book is approximately 222 pages in length, and if you have the leisure I can guarantee you’ll finish it in one sitting. The editing and proof reading have been done to the highest of standards, so much so that I only made 9 highlights throughout the whole book – a first for me as a reviewer. Each chapter is named, rather well I might say, reflecting accurately, and often humorously, what is contained therein. The narrative is written from Frank’s point of view throughout, and the writing style is clear, informative and engaging.
If you like comedies, travelogues and/or memoirs then you’ll love this book. The charm and richness of India is portrayed beautifully, and together with some great characters, surprising twists and emotional moments, this is a truly enjoyable read. This book is about self-searching, faith, hope, love and friendship – it is also about the depths of foolishness we human beings can reach with all of our quirks and foibles. This story is so much more than a mere memoir or travelogue. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, and give it a resounding 5 stars.