There’s been a lot of book talk on Born Again Swindonian of late. Well – we’re a very literary lot here in Swindon don’t y’know.

So we’ve had:

1. https://swindonian.me/2020/03/27/5-swindon-books-to-read-now/

2. https://swindonian.me/2020/03/31/richard-wintle-photographing-swindons-history/ and

3. https://swindonian.me/2020/04/26/5-more-swindon-books/

But in this post I want to talk about Mrs A’s Indian Gentleman by Dawood Ali McCallum. This book is set in Swindon, written by a chap that lives in Swindon and is even dedicated to Swindon.

And, with a central character that is my namesake – how could I not love it?

I heard about this book via this year’s Swindon Spring Festival – which of course, thanks to Covid-19, had to decamp as much of its output as it could to the virtual world.

Now, that’s clearly sad and terrible. But – on the other hand – it does mean that you can still watch and listen to the delightful Dawood Ali McAllum speaking to Matt Holland and talking about his book – described by him as ‘faction’. A mix of fiction and fact set in WWII.

I love the bit on Dawood’s talk where he describes how the book is dedicated to:

1. Swindon: a place which embraces, adopts, adapts and survives.
2. Swindon Central Library
3. Hachette, India
4. The Swindon Spring Festival

How could I not take him and his book to my heart?

Where the action is

I’m about halfway through the book now and I’m loving it. It’s a lovely read. It’s full of gentle humour and it’s so great reading street names and buildings and so on that we’re all familiar with.

Much of the action takes place Inside – and the Queen’s Tap, the GWR Railway Village and the Mechanics’ Institution loom large in the book. As does the GWR Park or Faringdon Road park – gratingly spelt Farringdon. I’m trying to let it go as I’m so enjoying the book. And I’m sure you will too.

You’ll be able to get the book in the library shop when they’re ever able to open again. If you can’t wait for that – here’s info on where you can obtain it.

Front cover of Mrs A's Indian Gentlemen
Back cover of Mrs A's Indian Gentlemen