> Skip to content

A novel of India from one of England's finest writers

'For some time now, I have been plagued, perhaps blessed, by dreams of rivers and seas, dreams of water.'

Just days after Albert James writes these lines to his son John, in London, he is dead. Abandoning a pretty girlfriend and the lab where he is completing his PhD, John flies to Delhi to join his mother in mourning.
A brilliant and controversial anthropologist, the nature of Albert James’ research, and the circumstances of his death, are far from clear. On top of this, John must confront his mother’s coolness, and the strangeness of the cremation ceremony that she has organised for his father. No sooner is the body consigned to the flames than a journalist arrives, determined to write a biography of the dead man. The widow will have nothing to do with the project, yet seems incapable of keeping away from the journalist.

In Tim Park’s masterly new novel, India, with its vast strangeness, the density and intensity of its street life, its indifference to all distinctions between the religious and the secular, is a constant source of distraction to these westerners in search of clarity and identity. To John, the enigma of his father’s dreams of rivers and seas appears to be one with the greater mystery of the country.

Reviews

The originality, power and sheer prolificacy of Parks's production makes the work of his British contemporaries appear trite... His prose can be sparse and lucid, or almost manically convoluted, although beyond the fierce and questioning intelligence are both humour and artfully constructed and invariably gripping plots... In other words it's a big, easily readable book - though with a solidly intellectual core - more than ripe for big prizes

Independent on Sunday

A haunting and accomplished novel ... Dreams of Rivers and Seas is a book that has already repaid a second reading; I am sorry not to see it on the Booker longlist

Guardian

A brave book...he shows with this novel, he intimately understands the Western condition, its complexity and fragility

Nirpal Dhaliwal, Evening Standard

Gripping and ambiguous... India provides the gritty, realistic backdrop, a lightning conductor for intelligent Westerners to play out the manufactured anguishes of their fissile lives

The Times

In the tradition of British writing about India, this novel is a rich, unexpected variation, and a considerable addition

Amit Chaudhuri, Financial Times

With his constant switching of viewpoint, tense and emphasis, Parks, an extremely skilful storyteller, makes sure the novel's intensity never falters

Irish Times

An engaging story

Times Literary Supplement

This is a brilliant evocation of the teeming back streets and bazaars of Delhi and the gulf between Indian life and western logic

Eve

This probably won't get within a bull's roar of the Booker shortlist. It should.The complexities of Dreams of Rivers and Seas are not the product of contrivance, but simply those of experience

Sunday Herald

A love story (or rather several love stories), an oblique and engrossing mystery, but above all a story about language and its limitations

Sunday Telegraph

Ambitious and compelling

Sunday Times

In his latest novel, Parks demonstrates a seemingly effortless mastery of biochemistry...a fast paced thriller with sex and relationships at its heart

Jane Housham, The Guardian Saturday Review

Entirely convincing. He is a highly skilful writer and this is an absorbing story

Nick Rennison, Sunday Times

Parks competently handles the themes of secrecy and communication

Heather McRobie, Telegraph

Read More

Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099513360

    September 1, 2009

    Vintage

    448 pages

    RRP $22.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781407014524

    September 1, 2010

    Vintage Digital

    448 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks