Synopses & Reviews
Fiction. Literary Nonfiction. In 1971, Terry Tarnoff packed a bag, a guitar and sixteen harmonicas and headed out on an eight year journey that would take him into the jungles of Africa, the mountains of India and beyond. This account of his revelatory journey is a tumultuous love story, a spiritual odyssey, and a rollicking escapade all rolled up into one. Tarnoff is a fevered, risk-taking writer with an uncanny ability to render place. 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.
"THE BONE MAN OF BENARES is the kind of sweeping, atmospheric epic they just don't make any more. Terry Tarnoff renders this engaging young- man-on-the-road saga with the heightened elan of a bangi-abusing Paul Theroux or hippied-out E. M. Forster. In the grand tradition, THE BONE MAN OF BENARES stands out as the best kind of contempo literary globe-trotting. It does what a great novel should do—leave you feeling like you've been there."—Jerry Stahl
"Terry Tarnoff is a writer whose every word, like a great blues master's instrumental solos, pulls you into his world. THE BONE MAN OF BENARES is the extraordinary real life saga of a modern day harmonica- playing Don Quixote, telling us his story with irresistible gusto and elan. Tarnoff makes you feel at home as you ride by his side on his global tour, sharing one incredible adventure after another. The trials and tribulations of romance and self-discovery, all set in exotic locales, make this adventure tale alternately engrossing, touching and hilarious. From the very first page until the last, it is nearly impossible to put the book down, and even more enjoyable to read the second time."—David Amram
"Terry Tarnoff's book, THE BONE MAN OF BENARES, calls to the reader like a train-whistle moaning in the distance. Written with rhythm and blues, it's the picaresque tale of a '60s expatriate looking for adventure all over the globe. But underneath the exotica is something even more compelling, the voice of a bona fide soul singer, a latter-day pilgrim, seeking the spiritual meaning of the road. Read this book for the literary rock and roll ride of your life."—Phil Cousineau
"For those who lived through the several-years-long Summer of Love, Terry Tarnoff's THE BONE MAN OF BENARES will provide satisfying doses of wincing nostalgia. For those who didn't, here is an entertaining manual of what they missed."—Herbert Gold
"I laughed (rollicked) my way through THE BONE MAN OF BENARES. Terry Tarnoff is one of the funniest writers I've ever read, maybe because so much serious depth underlies the humor. Lots of people made those road trips in the 60's; few got any lasting insights out of them. Tarnoff clearly has."—Gerald Nicosia
In 1971, fed up with the politics and culture of America, Terry Tarnoff packed a bag, a guitar and sixteen harmonicas and headed out on an eight year journey that would take him into the jungles of Africa, the mountains of India and beyond. Smoking a chillum around a funeral pyre with lepers, battling fist size cockroaches in Mombasa Africa or driving through the poppy fields of Thailand with a kamikaze cab driver, each adventure leads Terry further into worlds unlike those he has ever known. Through an eclectic coterie of like minded expatriates-from a heroin junkie in Bangkok to the girl of his dreams in Stockholm-Terry begins to discover the true purpose of his travels. An energetic exploration of one drop-out's search to find answers in a world that poses only questions, Tarnoff's journey is an exploration of freedom and an effort to push the limits of human experience. With wit, irreverence and more than an ounce of pathos, The Bone Man of Benares traverses the chasm of time and through his startling adventures speaks to readers young and old about the universal need for connection.
About the Author
Terry Tarnoff graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in psychology, then embarked on an eight- year journey that took him from Europe to Africa to Asia. Those experiences became the raw material for his first novel, THE BONE MAN OF BENARES, which has been published in six countries and four languages, was produced as a play in San Francisco, and was optioned for a film project in Hollywood. Tarnoff's adventures and misadventures as a screenwriter became the basis for his second novel, THE THOUSAND YEAR JOURNEY OF TOBIAS PARKER. His latest novel, THE CHRONICLE OF STOLEN DREAMS, explores inner space, outer space, and several spaces in between. He lives in San Francisco, where he is working on his next novel.