I read this novel when I was in Denmark last month. I’m from Denmark and whenever I go there, I always like to read novels by Danish authors – in Danish. Well, last summer I had the pleasure of coming across not a Danish but a Swedish author, Mikael Bergstrand, and his novel Delhis Vackreste Händer (The most beautiful hands in Delhi), which I read in Danish. Briefly told, it’s about Mr. Göran Borg, a middle aged, Swedish guy who is kind of stuck in a rut. His wife has left him for another man, his job situation isn’t the best and he’s generally just not feeling good where he is in his life.
So he decides to accept his friend’s (Erik) offer of traveling to India together with a group of Swedish tourists. His friend is an outgoing tour guide, and Göran soon finds himself on the other side of the planet, in unfamiliar territory. Soon after arriving in New Delhi, Göran gets a bad case of “Delhi belly” and is left at the hotel room as his friend and the other tourists have to leave and continue with their scheduled tour. So Erik arranges for his Indian friend, Yogendra aka Yogi, to pick him up at the hotel and take care of him. This is where the real story begins as the reader is taken on a journey into Göran’s exploration of Indian culture, lifestyle, food, traditions and love.
In the 2nd novel Dimma Över Darjeeling (Fog Over Darjeeling), Göran is back in Sweden and feeling just as miserable as ever. Yogi is getting married and has invited Göran to attend his wedding, which takes him back to New Delhi again and soon wraps him up in another great adventure involving a million Rupee fraud case, identity theft and a tea plantation. It’s really a great story of friendship across cultures and love across social classes.
Unfortunately, these novels are not published in English (as far as i know), but I think they ought to be. Great reads by Mikael Bergstrand.