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Cobra in the Bath

ByMolly Newhouse

Mar 24, 2016

For those of you out there who have a constant drive for wanderlust and itchy feet to be constantly exploring new areas, Miles Morland’s memoir is perfect. There are very few corners of the world that Miles hasn’t explored. With him, you roller-coaster all over the globe, following his pursuit of education, girls, money, and his own craving to be on the move. If this fast-paced book leaves you with nothing else, it will leave you with a burning desire to throw yourself into all aspects of life as fully as you can, wherever that takes you. Indeed, readers are transported to the life of Miles Morland, on a boat in London, writing books about his creatively utilised time on earth.

The story follows Miles from when he was a young boy in India, showing the reader a child’s insight into the workings of the adult world: from marriages, to rules, to revolutions – Miles recounts a wide range of stories. As Miles grows, you also grow with him over his journey. His constantly changing style of education has the reader sympathising with his hatred of boarding school, and his colourful heritage leaves Morland resentful of the greyness in England. Later Miles discovers the UK’s beauty and settles with his family, only to realise that his life has been consumed by Wall Street and something needs to change.

However, this frustration leads him to once again explore the world. Going by train, foot, or even motorbike, nothing stops Miles from heading straight into trouble. Unfazed and with his witty humour in hand, he can’t keep himself grounded, and nor does he desire to. He sets off in search of himself, finding new innovative ideas for a business along the way. His business involves bringing the unexplored lands of African and Middle-Eastern stock markets and to wealthy European clients, something nobody had before attempted. Throughout, Miles’ deeper motivation is revealed: to find situations that make him appreciate being alive.

However, a major downside to Morland’s adventures is his privilege. Equally, if everyone had the money to travel as he did, and the security to be able to take such adventures out of their working lives, everyone would fully embrace the opportunity. But we don’t. His disregard of the need for money due to instalments from his parents alienates Miles from the reader. It suggests that the reader couldn’t follow his adventures without having wealthy parents behind them. Furthermore, although reference is made to his family, it is only in passing. His wife, after divorcing him once and marrying him twice, appears to be sidelined by Miles’ need to travel. Although readers can relate to Morland’s desire greatly, what causes detachment is Miles’ lack of his concern for his wife and kids. This decreased the quality of the text, as it caused resentment of the narrator. However, if narrative likeability isn’t a main quality for you in a text, then “Cobra in the Bath” would prove an enjoyable read.

Image: Kuvan Puvman

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