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My Dateless Diary: An American Journey by R. K. Narayan is a novel describing the experiences and memories of a 50 year old Narayan who has left India for the first time to travel through and see America. The novel is essentially about the differences and also the similarities between cultures -- Indian and American-- as the writer compares his experiences in both countries. As he describes places and people he encounters in America, he often remembers and describes how things are like back home in India.
The novel is a very realistic and personal account of Narayan's experiences, essentially a travel diary. In fact, he wrote the novel using his diary which he kept during his travels to the East Coast, the West and Midwest United States.
Narayan tries to portray an objective view of American culture but he also doesn't hesitate to express his opinions when he likes or doesn't like something. He clearly experienced issues adapting in certain aspects while traveling in the US. For example, as a vegetarian, he had trouble expressing his dietary preference and finding good vegetarian food. These events take place in the 60s when I suppose vegetarianism was less common among Americans and being a vegetarian posed more difficulties. Narayan is frequently discussing and reminiscing about delicious Indian foods which he clearly misses.
With this novel, the author doesn't only tell us about America from his unique point of view, but also more about him as an individual, a writer and an Indian. This is a great book for those wanting to understand how someone from abroad perceives American culture and way of life. It's also an interesting book for Indians living in the U.S. as it describes the difficulties and also the joys of being part of a different society.
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