Indian Nocturne

Indian Nocturne



The Pequod Review:

On the surface, Antonio Tabucchi's Indian Nocturne is the story of a nameless European man who travels to India in search of his lost friend (Xavier). But the book's best sections involve the protagonist's search for his own identity, as he navigates the complex cultures of Bombay and Madras. There is something of Borges or even W.G. Sebald in Tabucchi's surreal and uncertain scenes:

"Do you have a photograph of him?"

It was a simple, practical question, but I hesitated over the answer, for I too felt the weight of memory, and at the same time I sensed its inadequacy. What does one remember of a face in the end? No, I didn't have a photograph, I only had my memory: and my memory was mine alone, it wasn't describable, it was the look I remembered on Xavier's face. I made an effort and said: "He's the same height as I am, thin, with straight hair; he's about my age; sometimes he has an expression like yours, Doctor, because if he smiles he looks sad."

"It's not a very exact description," he said, "still, it makes no difference, I don't remember any Janata Pinto, at least not for the moment."