August 13, 2011 by Paula Reed Nancarrow
H. R. is a quiet, conversational storyteller with a gentle, engaging style. I found myself wishing I was not sitting under the rumbling air ducts at the Bryant Lake Bowl – or that he had a lavalier. However, leaning in, and paying attention, I could hear most of what was being said. The framework of the story meant that most of the people we encountered within it were teachers, doctors, nurses, or patients who could afford to be in a hospital. (Oh, and the grandma who does the laundry.) I did wonder what effect, if any, India’s poverty and its caste system had on H.R.’s search for spiritual clarity. But H. R. does an amazing job portraying a variety of different Indian characters, even within the hospital parameters, as well as his evolving relationship to them. I especially appreciated the way he used repetition in the story, lightly, deftly, to build intimacy with the audience, and establish a rhythm and a routine during his illness.