Troubador Re-tyred

Released: 28/04/2019

ISBN: 9781789015751

eISBN: 9781838598679

Format: Paperback/eBook

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Discovering India


Re-Tyred is an evocation of India as the author has experienced it as a volunteer in rural areas and on the streets of Kolkata, with beautiful photographs throughout.

In Himachal Pradesh, in magnificent scenery of snow-clad peaks and forested hillsides, the children were as poor as those in Rajasthan, and equally keen to learn. In Kolkata exists the deep gulf between rich and poor, living side-by-side. The author recalls being impressed by the aspirations of street children she taught, but saddened by traumas suffered by children who had been rescued by the volunteer organisation.

Despite their poverty, the energy and resilience of the village and street people was inspiring. The book touches upon the more sinister aspects of life in poorer areas such as child marriage, violence and lack of opportunity, and in stark contrast describes the colourful and exuberant celebrations of middle-class neighbours in Kolkata, after the author spent four weeks living with a bourgeois Indian family in Jaipur.

Re-Tyred paints a vivid and enticing picture of India as a country teeming with life and enormous vitality, a place where happiness doesn’t depend on having everything you want or need, appealing to readers of travel writing and memoirs.

The photographs included in Re-tyred are not included in the eBook but can be viewed at .

July 7th: Travelmag have put up a second excerpt from Re-Tyred, at It's a section about one of my weekend trips to Jaisalmer.

July 6th 2019: Delighted to find 2 copies of Re-Tyred on the shelves of Dubray Books in Blackrock today. At their request I signed them, and they will promote them.

June 6th 2019: Travelmag have included an excerpt from Re-Tyred in their central asia section. See

May 17th 2019: Re-Tyred on sale at the Dublin fund raising lunch of the Hope Foundation, with which I worked in Kolkata,

May 15th 2019: There are now 4 reviews of Re-Tyred on the Troubador bookshop web page,

April 24th 2019: Launch of 'Re-Tyred' in the School of Physics, Trinity College Dublin.

April 17th 2019: hosts 'An evening with Sara McMurry'. See


Travel Mag



Books Ireland


This is a must read for any traveller to India.

Yes, it is a fascinating and seductive description of several of the cities and 'tourist' areas, not only vividly bringing to life the chaotic but optimistic lives of the people who live there, but unusually, it also gives the reader an insight into the real, everyday lives of desert and rural village dwellers.

As a seasoned traveller to and volunteer teacher in India, Sara McMurray delves beneath the surface of the chaos of city life to give us a detailed personal account not only of the cities but also of the remote rural villages where she has taught children in very basic circumstances. An accomplished storyteller, the vignettes she gives us of the characters she meets over a period of several years conveys more about India and its people than any guide book. As she relates her experiences one gains a fascinating and unusual insight into the customs and cultures of different regions. Her affection for the country and its peoples is infectious and left me longing to revisit the country.

by S.Gamblin

A fascinating look at India through the eyes of the author who first traveled as a tourist there became enchanted with the country and volunteered in different parts of India.Honest real look at the people tradtions both good and bad like child brides a very interesting read.

by Abby

I like travel memoirs and though this is not a travel memoir as such, it was much more than that. The writer spent months spread over a number of years in parts of Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh as an English teacher volunteer. Her writings about her experiences in two very different locations added much interest to the work of teaching.

Rajasthan is desert country. Parched, dry and a hard life. Himachal Pradesh is picture perfect - mountains and valleys, green and fresh. The physical contrast alone was a very good story because the author paints a beautiful picture of both.

Her experience in dealing with simple, straight forward villagers who liked the idea of their children learning English but she also accepted the practices of the villagers and never tried to influence them to change their ways, despite her own personal ideas on the subjects. Very young marriages of girls at the age of 15 are common in the Rajasthan area, despite being illegal. Children are expected to help out on farms, with cultivation, with livestock. The family is of paramount importance, not the individual. The differences are many and all are very well articulated in this book.

Very vividly described both geography and people, this was a very entertaining read.

by Mystica

I love travel memoirs and this one about the author's journey to India did not dissapoint. It was wonderfully written and beautifully told. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves travel.

by Rose

Sara McMurry had no desire to go to India, she tells us. A successful academic in the field of physics, she agreed to join a two-week tourist dasharound shortly after retiring from her career at Trinity College Dublin. But then: she fell in love.
That trip changed McMurry’s life, and in this delightful book she describes her growing commitment to the sub-continent. The colours, the vastness, the friendliness of the people, the legion of quaint sights – all add up to a fondness, but her relationship with India formed a much deeper connection. She returned, several times, as a volunteer English teacher, with stints in remote villages, the foothills of the Himalayas, and the vast challenging metropolis of Kolkata.

If you have always dreamed of going to India – or if, like me, you did go on the two-week dasharound and have since dreamed of going back – this is the book for you. McMurry tells it like it is, with respect and colour in equal measures. Her prose is clear and well constructed, but with much of it more like a literary, not scientific, professional. Her India is scrutinised calmly, without pre-conditions or prejudice. She relates the enthusiasm of the school children she teaches in remote villages, who start the day singing “Good morning” to the tune of Frère Jacques, and are eager to invite her into their homes. She talks to, and learns from, all sorts of people, with the scientific curiosity of her training tempered by instinctive respect and compassion. And the wildlife: she always notices the animals, especially the birds, so much a feature of rural life especially: owls, mynahs, kites, crows, bulbuls, doves. This is a refreshing and hugely informative reading experience.

by Angela

Sara McMurry

Born in Bedford, UK, I moved to Dublin to a university lectureship in 1968. After retiring I visited India, where as well as travelling as a tourist I volunteered, teaching children in villages in rural Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh, and working with street children in Kolkata. I enjoy travel in Europe, the US and Canada as well as in India, and I have made two memorable visits to Bhutan. At home in Ireland I live with my husband, and regularly see my two sons, daughters-in-law, two granddaughters and one grandson.

Walking in the French Alps

Admiring the view of Kanchendzonga on a recent visit to India.
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