Sculpting the Elephant by Sylvia Vetta | print
Sylvia Vetta has written a book which fundamentally traces the philosophical and moral dimensions of a journey which crosses racial and religious boundaries.
Professor Rebecca Haque, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
A page turning love story – I was hooked... It reflected my life of gifts and travails of a mixed-race relationship.
Polly Biswas Gladwin, screenwriter
Antiques dealer Harry and history student Ramma fall in love, but they come from different cultural backgrounds and the future of their relationship is not clear to them. Their discovery of the diary of Bartholomew Carew, a Victorian surveyor in India, helps them to work out what they need to do. Bartholomew Carew himself was looking for answers in his travels on the trail of Ashoka, a warlord in third century BC India who transformed himself into an enlightened Buddhist ruler.
With boundless expertise and enthusiasm, Sylvia Vetta whisks her reader between the worlds of art deco antiques, Victorian colonial administration and the spread of Buddhist ideas through Asia. As half of a cross-cultural marriage she understands the stresses on the relationship between her protagonists, and their reactions to the mirror-image racism meted out to them in England and India is beautifully described.
Harry King, artist and antiques dealer, thinks he has just made the worst purchase of his life – an enormous Victorian chest of drawers filled with ancient newspapers and bric-a-brac that now takes up half his shop. But when he trips over the beautiful historian Ramma Gupta, he realises he might have got more than he bargained for.
Their story becomes entwined with the life of a Victorian explorer who mysteriously disappeared. A cross-cultural journey takes them from Oxford to India to uncover love, secrets, and the teachings of a lost empire.