Saturday, 3 March 2007


Hi, this is the next part of my photo journal,which shows the locations in Irene Black's novel The Moon's Complexion. At this point I was in Chennai. Things were really hotting up, in every sense of the word.

"Hotel Pandava on the Poonemale Road in Madras, or Chennai as it was now called, was an almighty celebration of art deco eccentricity... "

"A colonnaded walkway and opening out onto it were the ground floor guest rooms."

"Perched over them, layered balconies, painted in a riot of yellow, lilac, red, cream and blue checks, curves and stripes... "

"...the back streets behind the hotel were visible, with their strange mix of architecture: ramshackle little dwellings and tiny roadside stores snuggling unselfconsciously up to the great, wedding cake pink fa├žade of a Raj-era girls’ school. "

"India was a strange psychedelic wonderland, whose dark forces were manifested in the Qutab Shahi Tombs. Now she was in Sugar Candy Land, where no harm could come to her."

"Hannah stopped at a fruit stall, a perfumed cornucopia of delights. Enormous bunches of red, green and yellow bananas hung from the awning..."

"A family with a bicycle had stopped to watch her, father pushing, older daughter on the saddle, baby straddling the cross bar, mother walking alongside. "

"A monster had landed on the grass; related, perhaps, to an old Hillman Imp, though this creature had been decapitated, so that instead of a passenger compartment, it carried a large platform on its carapace…standing in front of the monster, blowing in apparently uncoordinated abandon on strange clarinets and cornets. "

"Before her stood a goddess. "

"When they laughed, which they did frequently, the rolls of fat on their exposed, well-upholstered midriffs wobbled in unselfconscious delight. "

"Hannah watched as the Gopal Band set off out of the hotel grounds, a riot of dissonant sounds echoing in its wake. "

"After it on the horse rode the timid young bridegroom in his cream silk wedding suit and red turban "

"The noisy cavalcade crossed the main road, halting the never-ending stream of assorted vehicles


Photos and Text © Irene Black