If a Van Gogh painting, presumed lost during World War II, has to be found in India, the likely place to go looking for it would be an ancestral house in one of Kolkata’s snaking lanes: and that is exactly the premise Arnab Nandy has played with in On the Road to Tarascon.
In the realm of historical fiction, the novel switches between 1944-45 Madgeburg, Germany, and 2012 Germany and India. Primary protagonists Eva and Neil Bose follow a series of clues to locate painting #395, aka ‘The Painter on the Road to Tarascon’ by Gogh, believed to have been destroyed during the WW-II bombings.
Nandy’s attempt to create a thrilling cross-continent chase for one of the world’s most sought-after paintings is admirable, but the execution is lacking. The inclusion of a love affair between Eva and Neil seems forced though Nandy’s love of Kolkata does comes across. A pleasant, casual read over a flight, the book cover is one to get you drooling for sure.