By John Burbidge
An Indian Love Story
Written with passion, integrity and humor, The Boatman is packed with incident, anecdote, adventure and above all, real and memorable people. Burbidge takes hold of India as few have done before, deftly interweaving the search fo selfhood with an intimate exploration of Indian life and society
An Indian Love Story
An engrossing, often disturbing, story, grippingly told. It is both every gay man’s story and unlike any you’ve ever read.
— Robert Dessaix
The six years John Burbidge spent in India as a community development worker changed him in many ways, but one stands out from all the rest. It led him to confront a deeply personal secret—his attraction to his own sex. After taking the plunge with masseurs on a Bombay beach, he found himself on a rollercoaster ride of sexual adventuring. A complicating factor in his journey of self-discovery was the tightly knit community in which he lived and worked, with its highly regimented schedule and minimal privacy that forced him to live a double life.
Burbidge’s story shows us how, when we dare to immerse ourselves in a culture radically different from our own, we may discover parts of ourselves we never knew existed.
South Asian edition published by Yoda Press
Praise for The Boatman
Burbidge’s book is immensely educative and should be compulsory reading on how a foreigner discovers his true nature but returns home a very strong and confident man in charge of his life. The Boatman will surely take you across the Ganga.
— Ashok Row Kavi, Hindustan Times
This tender story of naked lust and obsessive craving is as intoxicating as India itself.
— Benjamin Law, author of Gaysia and The Family Law
The Boatman brought back a flood of memories of the times we all lived in, in India. Burbidge has managed to capture the details and nuances of the culture so effectively. Huge congratulations and a big hug for the book. With a good writer who can develop a dramatically interesting screenplay, it could be an engrossing film.
— Sridhar Rangayan, filmmaker and gay rights activist
Touching, honest, and brave, The Boatman draws us irresistibly into an intense new world. Vivid descriptions and a heady pace never let the reader go.
— Dianne Highbridge, author of A Much Younger Man and In the Empire of Dreams
Unexpectedly contemporaneous, while still managing to evoke the ethos of a country in flux–the early profusion of exotica giving way to a more observed understanding of India.
— Vikram Phukan, TimeOut Mumbai
Beyond Prince and Merchant
A seminal publication on the concept of civil society and its rise as a pivotal force for social change in today’s global society.
The acclaimed biography of an author whose audacious life and provocative writing pushed the boundaries of acceptability in 20th century Australia.
My Writing Blog
Musings from a Writer’s Life
When I published my India memoir, THE BOATMAN, in 2014, I received an email from a reader in Australia who enjoyed the book but felt deceived by my choice of title. He was a very talented artist, who had spent many years painting exquisite pictures of the lithesome...
In the summer of 1987 I took a break from my NGO in Brussels to spend a week with an Australian friend in Exeter, England. A few months before, I had made contact with a young gay Gujarati guy who had grown up in East Africa and now lived in the UK, but had never been...