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Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite
The White Mogul by Al Gromer Khan is a poignant tale set in the 1960s where the nineteen-year-old protagonist, Hans von der Thann, rebels against the restrictions and clash of cultures that lead him to discover a spiritual freedom through music. Running away from his country to India to learn the sitar gave him confidence as sound began to influence his life slowly. The India which initially rejects, insults and mocks him finally blesses him. As the story progresses, readers take the journey along with Hans von der Thann from London to Bombay where his life is inextricably entwined with encounters of manipulation and deceit, which contribute to a large extent to his spiritual growth.
In one word I would describe the story as 'exotic.' The book is divine, it's exotic, it touches the soul. The cover design rocks. The book captures the essence of India during those times with the ambiguity and mysterious tones of Urdu poetry, the palace ambiance, and the young boy's struggle to adjust to his new world. The author's descriptive narration captivates readers as they get a peek into the life that existed behind the palace walls in India. As the story shifts between London and India, readers are glued to the story with its many dimensions that connect to them on different levels. The underlying spiritual vibes provided by the music in the book are surreal and the healing power of music runs effectively through the plot. The story gives a new meaning to the freedom that runs through all of us with the help of music, making it refreshingly original.