From Bollywood stars in Bombay worrying whether they are sexy enough to a heroin addict in Pakistan mocking jihad; from Indian mafia dons with political ambitions to Afghans waiting for American benevolence; from Kashmiri Muslims longing for democracy to Tibetan Buddhists fighting to preserve religion in politics - Temptations of the West is a travel book unlike any other. In a narrative as revealing as it is profound, Pankaj Mishra's new book dissolves the old boundaries between East and West, challenging every romantic cliche about the conflicts and dilemmas at the heart of the modern world. `Mishra offers a compelling blend of memoir, narrative history, politics, religion and philosophy. Thoughtful, intelligent and rigorous, this is a deep, insightful study of the very notion of modernity' Observer `Mishra is a precise observer and a subtle analyst, keener to understand than to blame . . . In a thousand details - such as the grimace he catches on the face of a sycophantic businessman as a politician's bodyguard rinses curry-stained hands in his swimming pool - he salutes humanity's paradoxes and wit' The Economist `Wonderful. The narrative is interspersed with sophisticated cultural commentary . . . and, if anything, the point of this important book is to collapse fallacious distinctions between East and West' Conde Nast Traveller
Pankaj Mishra was born in North India, in 1969. He is the author of Butter Chicken in Ludhiana: Travels in Small Town India; a novel, The Romantics, which won the LA Times Art Seidenbaum award for first fiction; and a highly acclaimed book about the Buddha, An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World. Mishra writes for several publications, including the New York Review of Books, the New Statesman, Granta, the Times Literary Supplement and the Guardian.