Sunday Salon: A Little Picaresque
I am about to embark on exploring the picaresque (strictly from my desk). A picaresque involves 'clever rogues or adventurers especially in a type of fiction' according to my on-line dictionary, and I always have the impression that some sort of journey is also implied or assumed. The Life of Pi, I understand, is about a voyage. Looking through my bookcase I see I have absent-mindedly bought two copies of this book, and have yet to read either. This will be my 'warm-up' picaresque.
After that I will return to a road I have already traveled (the Silk Road) and pick up a few rogues on that. I intend to start with 'Life Along the Silk Road' by Susan Whitfield which is a series of informative short stories about the various people that typically lived along the Silk Road from its hay-day in the 8th -10th centuries. Then I shall move on to a modern day travelogue of the same area 'Shadow of the Silk Road' by Colin Thubron. This comes with some great recommendations, and I am especially looking forward to starting this.
The end of my little picaresque will be with 'Monkey' by Wu Ch'êng-ên. This is a sixteenth century Chinese epic based on the account of the travels of a seventh century monk called Hsüang-Tsang. Like many Chinese Buddhist monks, he traveled along the Silk Road to seek out examples of the sutra in India, in order to bring them back to China for translation.
I have dipped into all these books and feel confident that I shall find at least one clever rogue in each one.