From The Independent:
Along journey across India can be at once tiring, exhilarating, frustrating, inspiring, and thrilling. As with the country, so with Patrick French's India: A Portrait. Here, French combines his lifelong passion, India, with his scholarly interest in the way that Sir VS Naipaul operates as a writer. Sir Vidia was, of course, the subject of French's absorbing biography in 2008.
Like Naipaul, French has an abiding interest in India. Like him, he talks to many people from all walks of life and listens to their stories. But unlike him, he shows empathy for what they have to say. More importantly, he does not mock them. Like Naipaul, he reads the country's history closely; unlike him, he doesn't bear the burden of post-colonial resentment or a sense of betrayal towards the country of his ancestors that failed to meet his expectations. India, for him, is not an area of darkness, nor a wounded civilisation. There are a million mutinies, but the portrait French offers is more complex.