In 1971, Terry Tarnoff left the United States with sixteen harmonicas and didn’t return for eight years. He was one of a new generation of expatriates who were fed up with the war and their own culture, who began “dropping out” to venture off to the remotest and most exotic outposts of the world. The Bone Man of Benares is an account of his raucous and revelatory journey. It’s a tumultuous love story, a spiritual odyssey, a cultural chronicle, and a rollicking escapade all rolled into one.
Tarnoff is a fevered, risk-taking writer with an uncanny ability to render place. Reading his book is a visceral, transportive experience where you find yourself trapped in a hotel room in Bangkok with strung-out Zed, falling in love with Annika in the snow drift that is Stockholm in the winter, playing harmonica in an African club in Mombasa, smoking a chillum with the lepers and sadhus in Benares, trance-dancing with Tibetans at a death ceremony in Manali, being surrounded in your car by Masai warriors in Tanzania. With an outrageous sense of humor, a repugnance for things that critter or slither, a taste for drink and drugs, a healthy dose of pathos, and an untamed love of love, music and people, Terry makes a sublime arm-chair travel companion.
The Bone Man of Benares is a lunatic bird of a book, flapping, singing, soaring, often all at the same time. It’s a wild-hearted celebration of cross-cultural discovery, a laugh-out-loud, delirious adventure that traverses the chasm of time, speaking to readers young and old about the universal need for connection.
Additional Book Details
- Avian Press
- Avian Audio