Troubador What Else is there for a Boy Like Me?

Released: 28/01/2014

ISBN: 9781783062812

eISBN: 9781783067886

Format: Paperback/eBook

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What Else is there for a Boy Like Me?


Patrick Moon abandons a successful career as a city solicitor and heads for India. Where better, he thinks, to come to terms with the opportunity he has created for himself: the chance to reinvent his life... But how much of his old self and his old view of the world will survive this watershed? How should he best “fill in the blank sheet of paper” in front of him? And how will he deal with his other reason for travelling to India? He wants to try to reinvent another life: that of Mohamd, a talented young Indian from a primitive village in the Rajasthan desert, whose potential is blocked by the twin obstacles of poverty and caste. But Patrick underestimates how much of the weight of Indian society will be stacked against him, and how difficult it will be to pluck an individual out of India’s crowd. In the end, neither of these twin efforts to change a life works out as Patrick expected. But, while one can be counted a success, the other ends profoundly unhappily. A tale as rich in comedy and affection for India as it is full of sadness, love and regret, What else is there for a boy like me? is a compelling read, not only for ‘Indiaphiles’ but also for anyone who has ever felt the impulse to try to change the fortunes of someone from a less privileged part of the world. It will also appeal to anyone who has ever fantasised about changing careers in middle age, as well as all those who have an interest in the issue of arranged marriages.

Selina will also be interviewing me about Arrazat's Aubergines at the same time on 4 December

Selina McKenzie will be interviewing me about Virgile's Vineyard live on Talk Radio Europe at 13.40 UK time on 27 November

Together with Virgile Joly, I shall be signing copies of 'Virgile's Vineyard' at a launch party for the new edition of the book to be held at the Maison de la Region Languedoc-Roussillon in London on 30 October. The event is hosted by Naked Wines, who have purchased 10,000 copies of the book for their customers! -
(By invitation from Naked Wines only)

Adrienne Fryer, who painted the cover images for both 'Virgile's Vineyard'and 'Arrazat's Aubergines', will be promoting all my books at the exhibition of her paintings which she is holding from 19th to 23rd October at The Old Chapel, Fore Street, Chagford, Devon.

Languedoc Living

Extract appears on 28 March

The Omnivore Author Pitch, March 2014

Female First, 3 February

Cayocosta72 Bookblog, 31 January

Audley Traveller Magazine, Winter 2014 Issue

A most impressive piece of writing: funny, moving, gripping, and heart-rending - and much more besides. Its overwhelming strength is the ring of honesty it carries. This is unembellished truth, no soft edges, but deeply engaging.

by Gareth Vaughan

Patrick Moon quits his job as a London lawyer and heads off to Jaisalmir. Central to his Indian journey is the story of Mohamd, a gifted desert boy whom he “adopts” as a protégé and tries to help pursue an education. Like all tourists, Patrick is confronted with the questions—What is your country? What is your job? Haunted, as we all are, by the search for our authentic selves Patrick wonders if he can change someone's life for the better, just as India had begun to change his. He sends a prayer, a candle circled by marigolds, into the Ganges as he crosses it.

Mohamd Nayak, “Muslim name Hindu boy” is 18 and a surprisingly talented linguist with not only English nut also a smattering of French, Italian, Spanish and basic Japanese he picked up as a tour guide. Patrick wants to encourage his talent and help him break free of the narrow prospects that are available to a boy like him. As a Brit, Patrick encounters the inevitable complications of travel in India: missed connections, misinterpretations and missed cultural cues as to personal motivations. These experiences lead him deeper under the skin of India as it takes emotional hold. Wanting to help Mohammd better his lot in life, come to England, get some education, advance in a career, is daunting in the internecine cultural networks of tribal villages which operate under covert rules, sometimes with threatening consequences. He tries to help Mohammd with travel documents while marriage arrangements are afoot and the genetics and history of place conspire against change.

On the eve of Patrick's return to London he realizes his concern over Mohammd is also a concern for himself; ultimately being able to grant permission to fail and be whoever he becomes.

Five years later he returns to India to find Mohamd in an arranged marriage, a father, much fatter, drinking, in debt, the passport never used—and another chaste and secret love than can never find fulfillment. But by now, both men have discovered their true selves and are living their chosen lives.

A fascinating, enlightening and beautifully written book, the reader comes away moved by the compassion and equally changed.

by Lynne Suo

This memoir by a humane ex-solicitor tells of Patrick Moon’s decision to help a young man in India, and what happened after. It includes a nitty-gritty tour of modern India which I would imagine would be useful to travelers. The boy’s story reads like a picaresque tale, and is a marvel of suspense. This well-written book is recommended for virtual and real travelers to India as well as fans of culture clash stories.

by KathleenP

Fascinating and held me spellbound. Good as this author's first two books were, this achieves new heights and the quality of writing seems effortless (but probably took much effort and a great deal of re-writing).

by Francis Howard

Not ever having travelled to India I found this book to be a fascinating insight in to a new land and culture and I thoroughly recommend it to those planning their first visit there and indeed to those seasoned travellers as well. It is an honest and compelling read. Patrick Moon is a very sensitive writer able to transport readers into his experiences with great skill.

by Brenda Bridgeman

Patrick Moon

Patrick Moon was born in Cornwall in 1953. He studied History and French at Oxford University and then went on to qualify as a solicitor. He worked for nearly twenty years as a lawyer in a large London practice, but aged 44 – to the consternation of friends and family – he resigned his partnership.

With no idea what the future might bring, he was convinced that there ought to be time in life to achieve more than one thing and he set off to spend a winter in India. Where better, he thought, to come to terms with this new freedom, to fill in the blank sheet of paper that he had before him?

Patrick’s third book What else is there for a boy like me? tells the story of this journey. It charts his attempt to reinvent himself, to start again from zero. It also tells the parallel, interlocking story of Patrick’s efforts to help a young Indian change his own life. And it’s this latter endeavour which unexpectedly brings him closer to a darker side of India than he’d bargained for. It’s a tale of hope and disappointment, of laughter and tragedy, far removed from the French landscape of his first two books.

In the year 2000 Patrick took on a very different challenge in the shape of a run-down property in the southern part of France called the Languedoc. He’d been a wine-lover all his adult life and it wasn’t long before the excellence and the diversity of the local produce caught his attention. A region that had once been a major contributor to the European wine lake had suddenly turned from quantity to quality and Patrick’s first book Virgile’s Vineyard sets out to explore how that happened. It also follows Patrick’s ‘shadowing’ of the work of a perfectionist young wine-maker, Virgile Joly, from January through to December 2001, uncovering all that it takes month by month – in both the vineyard and the cellar – to make great wine.

A couple of years later Patrick was lucky enough to enjoy another year’s ‘work-shadowing’ – this time with an ambitious young chef, Laurent Arrazat, running a new local restaurant and his second book Arrazat’s Aubergines tells the story of those twelve months. It also explores the production of many of the food products most closely associated with the Languedoc.

In more recent years, Patrick has also fulfilled another ambition: to make time for painting, working mostly in oils. He has yet to mount an exhibition, but has sold an encouraging number of works to both private and business purchasers.

Patrick never did entirely let go of his base in England and he currently has a cottage in a small Cotswolds village. However, he spends as much time as possible in the Languedoc with his partner, Andrew, tending the vines, olives, fruit trees and vegetable garden. He is a keen cook, using home-grown ingredients whenever he can and, for the first time in 2011, he made a small amount of wine. His modest vendange is now the most important date in the calendar!

Even now, parts of the French property remain ‘unreclaimed’. Patrick knows that the day will never come when he says, ‘I’ve finished the gardening. What shall I do next?’ – which he says has proved excellent therapy for a perfectionist!

When time and energy allow Patrick is an enthusiastic walker and mountain biker, even if regularly outstripped by his teenage godson.

Patrick also returns more or less annually to his other great love, India, usually for about a month in January/February, when the land in the Languedoc is largely asleep. He has spent several years researching the histories of the many spectacular palaces in Rajasthan, which have recently been turned into hotels, and he hopes that this will one day bear fruit in another book.

Patrick Moon hiking

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