Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Chasing The Monsoon” as Want to Read:
Chasing The Monsoon
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Chasing The Monsoon

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  850 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
On 20th May, the Indian summer monsoon will begin to envelop the country in two great wet arms, one coming from the east, the other from the west. They are united over central India around 10th July, a date that can be calculated within seven or eight days. Alexander Frater aims to follow the monsoon, staying sometimes behind it, sometimes in front of it, and everywhere wa ...more
Paperback, 273 pages
Published May 13th 1991 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published April 30th 1991)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The God of Small Things by Arundhati RoyThe White Tiger by Aravind AdigaA Fine Balance by Rohinton MistryShantaram by Gregory David RobertsSiddhartha by Hermann Hesse
204th out of 525 books — 656 voters
India After Gandhi by Ramachandra GuhaIndia Unbound by Gurcharan DasThe Discovery of India by Jawaharlal NehruIndia by John KeayThe Argumentative Indian by Amartya Sen
India on My Mind
67th out of 163 books — 61 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,011)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Nandakishore Varma
This is, without doubt, the most fascinating travelogue I have ever read. Frater follows the monsoon from its genesis in Kerala up to Cherrapunji in Assam, the wettest place on earth: in the process, he gives fascinating insights about India, the monsoon, India + the monsoon (a strange entity!) and human nature in general. His writing is wryly humorous (without being sarcastic) and sympathetic at the same time.

Being from Kerala, I know and love the monsoon. So it was all the more enjoyable for m
Erika Hall
Jan 29, 2012 Erika Hall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Chasing the Monsoon A Modern Pilgrimage Through India by Alexander Frater

I have read this book several times, usually as a summer read at the beach, and each time I am transported to alluring and exotic places and times by Frater's colorful descriptions and lyrical prose. The binding of my original copy is broken, with the pages - stained with sweat, tanning oil, seawater, sand and muck - secured between the covers by means of a large rubber band. Yet the experience of reading the battered pages while sweltering in the heat and humidity of a summer's day along the F
An affectionate romp through India as refreshing as a monsoon burst after the heat of summer. Frater has all of V.S. Naipaul's ear for dialog and eye for telling little details, without the cynicism and bitterness. I love books that focus on one weird theme and then mix in people, places, history and science. This one was great fun and sometimes surprisingly moving.

Chasing The Monsoon is the third travelog-type book I've read for the HBC India Challenge, all based on trips made during the late
Vaisakh Krishnan
Jun 28, 2013 Vaisakh Krishnan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, non-fiction
'Chasing the Monsoon' is a travel book by Alexander Frater where he describes his journey through India following the Indian monsoon. Travelling through many states and cities, he tells the stories of the people whose lives are touched upon by the monsoons. In a parallel track, he describes his childhood and how he inherited an interest towards nature and meteorology from his father and grand-father.

Frater starts in Trivandrum, Kerala where the monsoon arrives first and then moves upwards. Bein
I enjoyed book, without pushing on to a 5* (a lot of reviewers loved it, which had given me high expectations), but it was easy to read, and passed on information in a comfortable way.
Not only writing about his travel in India, travelling with the monsoon, starting in Kerala, moving north and ending Cherrapunji (Meghalaya) the author also writes a lot about his early life in Vanuatu (the New Hebrides, as it was called at the time), with his father and grandfather, who were prominent figures ther
Feb 09, 2012 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I loved this book!! We found it in a stack of books marked "free" on someone's lawn as we walked home from the market. We liked the look of the cover and because it is a Penguin book decided to give it a try. We. Couldn't. Put. It. Down.

Half memoir, half travel diary, it is wonderfully paced. How wonderful to get a completely different view of rain. At one point in Bombay, there is a lovely picture of a little girl leaping around in the pouring rain and happily calling to her father, "I'm cold!!
May 21, 2013 Nita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am impressed by the amount of information that Alexander Frater tucks into this book, which reads like a gripping story. His information is from a variety of sources ranging from ancient historical works to facts shared by aircraft pilots who bravely fly through a monsoon. This book made me look back with nostalgia (I've been to all the places that Alex has been to in his pursuit of the monsoon) and forward with excitement (the monsoon should begin any time now!). I also learned that the bottl ...more
Nov 18, 2010 Shahina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Frater has captured India's emotion filled response to this fantastic phenomenon. There are paragraphs that leave you feeling drenched and free. It is a refreshing travelogue with a lot of humour, facts, incidents and conversations spanning India and its people from Kanyakumari to Cherrapunji.
Yes, that’s what he has done; after welcoming the bursts at Trivandrum he has followed the south west arm of the Monsoon culminating this unique experience at Cherrapunji where he finally meets up with the
Dec 29, 2014 Mithun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, travelogue
“Chasing the Monsoon” was a captivating title for me, it was a long awaited read and it was worth the wait.
This book captures author’s journey following monsoon from Kerala to Cherrapunji which got sparked off by an unexpected conversation when meeting an Indian couple at London and Alexander Frater’s fascination towards a nostalgic wall hung portrait of Cherrapunji during his young age.
Book started off promisingly, topics like arrival of monsoon to the south western shore (Kovalam Beach) being
Manu Prasad
Dec 28, 2014 Manu Prasad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review
The monsoon - a phenomenon that has India in a tizzy every year. To me personally, they are a treasure trove of memories, associated with the various Junes that have been part of my life - childhood, college days, work - different places and different times. So I picked this book with quite some interest.
Frater's prologue tells us about his intent and motivation, but I'm afraid it tends to get a bit technical and I wouldn't be surprised if people stopped reading the book because of it! But the
Jan 12, 2008 Raghu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alexander Frater's book is a tribute to the phenomenon of the monsoon and the romance associated with it in the popular culture of India. Frater is on a journey through India with the sole aim of following the monsoon from the tip of the south western coast of India all the way along the west coast up north to Delhi and then hopping on to Calcutta and then on to Shillong in North East Meghalaya and then ending the 'pilgrimage' in Cherrapunji, the wettest place on earth which gets nearly 500 inch ...more
Akhila Vijayaraghavan
An excellent meteorological travelogue, if such a genre even exists. I loved how the author effortlessly marries the complex science with the intense poetry of the monsoon. He covers adeptly all the drama, romance, sorrows, relief, and blessing that the monsoon brings to the Indian subcontinent - in many ways the monsoon is the very heart of the country.

Frater's writing style flows just like the subject he has chosen. His story is more than a travelogue - it is a personal journey, following the
Oct 05, 2014 Sonia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As someone who loves the rain very much, this felt like the perfect book to read. The stories were not just rain-centric. A whole view of India in the late 80s as the country went through doubt and fear with its usual 'chalta hai' attitude was expressed so well by Frater. It is a lovely travelogue and a great project for those who love the rains. The best part, though, is that Frater gives his outsider view of the country without coming across as judgemental or pitying the country.
Pranay Gupta
It's a romantic novel which makes you fall in love with the majesty of the rains. Alexander Frater, impelled by his tenuous connections with the Indian culture, starts off on a journey following the monsoon in India from the southern tip, and undergoing on a sinuous tour through the thick and thin of Indian culture, culminates his amazing journey in Cherrapunji. Or does the entangled Indian bureaucracy let him reach his destination?
The book is full of chance happenings, and meetings with people
Subhash Chandra B
A pleasant read. Based on an interesting idea of following the significant annual phenomena of Indian weather, this book perfectly portrays the beauty and the bitterness surrounding the Indian monsoon. During the process of pursuing this exciting journey, apart from describing the nature's behavior the author also explored few interesting pre-indpendence events,the Indian bureaucracy in action, the perplexity of Indian life when viewed by an outsider. The author really excelled in capturing the ...more
Prathiba Swaminathan
Having lived in hot and humid Madras almost all my life, I look forward to the rains each year with great excitement. This book captured a lot of that excitement - a wonderful and romantic idea it is, to chase the SW monsoon from Kerala to Cherrapunji. I absolutely loved the beginning stages of this chase (in Kerala) - the anticipation of the people, the prayers for a good monsoon, the politicians' fears for a good monsoon, and the glimpse into the workings of the Meteorological department, all ...more
Aperna Deb
Jan 05, 2014 Aperna Deb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book describes the journey of a Scottish reporter across India literally “chasing” the monsoon. Frater starts off the book beautifully describing his birth and early years in an Hebridean island, and how rain, thunder and lightning became an integral part of him which purportedly leads to taking on the mission many years later. Cherrapunji becomes his White Whale; memory of a portrait from his childhood becomes his muse. Those days (mid 80’s) Meghalaya was an area of extreme unrest, and Cher ...more
Tariq Engineer
Jul 05, 2014 Tariq Engineer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. The Monsoon is my favourite season so the book was preaching to the choir but Frater made me fall in love with it all over again. He writes with a refreshing honesty and the freshness of an outsider about the rains that are the lifeline of India. He carries a genuine interest in the weather on his journey and weaves in his own personal narrative beautifully as he chases the rains from Cochin to Cherrapunji.

If I had one minor quibble with the book, it would be the la
This book surprisingly failed to engage me. I know what they say about the cover and the title, but I still got fooled. Without analyzing too much, I think one reason could be because I shifted from my kindle to the paperback edition I owned, with really small font size to boot, and I had to read most of this one lying down because I had hurt my back. That may have affected my concentration in no small measure. Or maybe I just wasn't interested.

The passages to do with description of the weather
Jenny L
Jun 24, 2014 Jenny L rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-books
A very interesting read. Not one I would choose usually, but I read this for work, wanting to understand more about the impact the SW Monsoon has on life in India each year from June until September. Alexander Frater's descriptions of the places he visited and people he met instantly transport you to that moment in time. I didn't really learn more about the Monsoon, already knowing a fair amount, but his story reinforces the importance of this annual event.
Trupti Dorge
Aug 11, 2011 Trupti Dorge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own, favorites
I was a little apprehensive to read it because I have never read a travelogue before. But this is much more than just travel. It is also a part memoir. He is so good with words, he can actually paint a picture before your eyes.

In the book, he follows the monsoon from Trivandrum (the southernmost point in India, well almost) up to the north. I knew monsoon is important to India, important to agriculture and all, but this book gives you a different perspective altogether. He describes people, plac
Dec 27, 2012 Su_ghosh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘Chasing the Monsoon’ is an engaging, humorously written travelogue by Journalist Alexander Frater. It documents the experiences the writer faced during his travel across India, following the monsoon right from its origin in South India to the North, and thereafter chasing it through the East and finally culminating in Cherrapunji.

The book is rich in descriptions; the writer comes across as passionate and knowledgeable in the passages where he describes the bursts and associated phenomena. It i
Sep 20, 2015 ickman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travelogue
Chasing the Monsoon is sure to be a new experience for most of the readers.Its about a phenomena which haven't been heard by most.The narration by Frater is never dull for a moment.As he starts from London in quest of his desire he has determined to live broadcast the readers of his experience,such is his narrative skill.Especially his interactions with the meteorological department hooks up the readers with many interesting and important informations.

The introductory moments in Kerala is sure
Manoj Gangadharan
An exact representation of India in the late 1980s beautifully presented in book form. Describes authors journey through following monsoon in my India. A example of typical British writing. If you are someone who wish to travel, this book might help you get going. A must read for people who wish to experience 'monsoon in a book'
Nov 13, 2014 Ravinder rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reading-again
It starts of as one man's journey following the Indian monsoon along the western coast as well as a portion of the eastern arm...mainly Cherrapunji. Mr. Frater describes the monsoon and India of the late 80's very well, and does a great job with his descriptions of the people he comes across on his various trips.

Unfortunately, the year he chose to travel, the monsoon did not do very well. Perhaps if it had, we might have read more of Mr. Frater's travels across India.

Apart from a lot of Kerala,
There are good travelogues, there are good foreigners' accounts of India and there are good Indian accounts of India. This books false in none of these categories. It's not bad; but that's the best that can be said. Definitely not worth the time, which is a pity, because given the subject matter it could have been a spectacular book. A quintessentially shallow foreign account of India. Lacking in depth and substance. Not recommended.
Great travel writing with interesting insights - and a fun look into 90s India. Wish he'd spoken more critically about some elements of colonial rule, but then, that'd be a perfect world :)
Vikas Pushkarna
A very interesting travelogue which not only communicates Frater's love of clouds and rain but also conveys smells and taste of India in its different hues.
Jul 22, 2016 Vinayan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my bucket list ....since cant get out of work life, read this book...hopefully this book motivates you to do some monsoon day soon.
Ananta Pathak
Jun 13, 2016 Ananta Pathak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a briliant read about monsoon in india.touching both the social milieu and spread of monsoon, the book gives a peek into india at its chaotic best.enjoyed reading it specially during time of rain here in Assam
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 67 68 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Journey in Ladakh: Encounters with Buddhism
  • News From Tartary
  • From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet
  • Slowly Down the Ganges
  • Delirious Delhi : Inside India's Incredible Capital
  • On a Shoestring to Coorg: An Experience of Southern India
  • Begums, Thugs, and White Mughals: The Journals of Fanny Parkes
  • India: A Million Mutinies Now
  • Sorcerer's Apprentice
  • Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God: Retracing the Ramayana Through India
  • The Carpet Wars: From Kabul to Baghdad: A Ten-Year Journey Along Ancient Trade Routes
  • Forbidden Journey
  • The Age of Kali: Indian Travels & Encounters
  • Hindoo Holiday
  • No Full Stops in India
  • Chasing the Sea: Lost Among the Ghosts of Empire in Central Asia
  • Smoke and Mirrors : An Experience of China
  • The Impossible Country: A Journey Through the Last Days of Yugoslavia
Alexander Frater has contributed to various UK publications--Miles Kington called him "the funniest man who wrote for Punch since the war"--and been a contracted New Yorker writer; as chief travel correspondent of the London Observer he won an unprecedented number of British Press Travel Awards. Two of his books, Beyond the Blue Horizon and Chasing the Monsoon, have been been into major BBC televi ...more
More about Alexander Frater...

Share This Book

“As a romantic ideal, turbulent, impoverished India could still weave its spell, and the key to it all - the colours, the moods, the scents, the subtle, mysterious light, the poetry, the heightened expectations, the kind of beauty that made your heart miss a beat - well, that remained the monsoon.” 2 likes
More quotes…