The red book – Meaghan Delahunt (post in English)
When I read Dominique’s post , I definitely wanted to read that book.
Because it is about India and particularly about the Bhopal disaster (known as one of world’s worst industrial catastrophe in history).
Interesting and moving reading but not quite up to my expectations.
The author is Meaghan Delahunt, a native of Australia, she now lives in Scotland. This book is her first published in France.
This book tells us about 3 characters, in alterned chapters devoted to them. An Australian photographer, Françoise, artist and photographer, she arrived in India, Bhopal, to take part in the creation of a memorial for the victims of the tragedy. Naga, a priest, is at the bedside of his sister dying of cancer linked to the tragedy. And finally, Arkaia, a Scottish arrived in India to fight against his demons and who is still struggling with them. These three characters are going to be linked by fate.
What I thought
This book blends spirituality with the history of a country and the personal history of the characters. This is an interesting book for what it tells us of the tragedy that remains relatively unknown today.
I appreciated it for that, although I expected a little more about India (for instance more elements about the Bhopal tragedy) and less about the « inner journey » of the characters. I also found that the story was a little too far-fetched.
However, it is a book which reads voraciously (I read it in English, very accessible, in a very short time) because we become attached to these three figures, their wanderings and their life choices. I recommend it to those who know little about India, the other, it may seem a little too « Western. »
What happened in Bhopal (central India) December 3, 1984:
The explosion of a Union Carbide pesticide plant (now Dow Chemical) has released 40 tons of methyl isocyanate into the atmosphere of the city. This industrial accident killed 3500 people officially (in the first night), but they were in fact between 20 000 and 25 000 deaths according to victims’ NGOs.
The CEO at the time of the company, Warren Anderson, is accused of « death by neglect » for the disaster and declared a fugitive by the chief justice of Bhopal on February 1, 1992 for failing to report to the Court during a trial. It now live peacefully on Long Island in New York.