By A Correspondent
In the eighteenth century, Justin Aloysius Trotter, or the Great Trotter, tumbles earthward to his death while surveying his vast lands and admiring his wealth from a hot air balloon. Two centuries later, the Seventh Trotter, Eugene Aloysius, narrates the epic story of a family at the fraying ends of its past glory.
Laced with verses, advertisements, journal entries, elegies, quotations and learned interpolations, The Trotter-Nama is the chronicle of seven generations of Trotters as they struggle to hold on to their shifting identities. They are Indian at lunch and British at dinner; eat curry with a dessert spoon and dessert with a teaspoon. Over the years, the expanding clan of Trotters produces soldiers, artists, poets, politicians-even a dhoti-wearing nationalist. As their excesses slowly turn to improvidence and the family chateaux is turned into a hotel, their increasing numbers and declining fortunes strain against a rapidly changing country.
Allan Sealy’s epic comedy of manners about Britain and India’s motley offspring is as much a treat today as it was thirty years ago.