The Inscrutable Americans is a bestselling novel by an Indian author, Anurag Mathur. It is about the experiences of a 'subcontinental bumpkin' in America. Humorous in intention, it concentrates on the mishaps and misadventures of a village Indian in the USA, and many true observations which are humorously told.
Anurag Mathur's The Inscrutable Americans is an upside-down, round-the-bend look by a "fresh off the boat" Indian at the contemporary American society. The novel gleefully reverses the clichéd oriental perspective that saw Asians as 'inscrutable' and formed the basis of western perception of other cultures for more than two centuries, and applies it with insouciant wit on Americans.
Gopal, the protagonist of this novel, is a recently arrived student from a small town in India who encounters the "Dullesville capital" of US with an odd mixture of wide-eyed innocence and worldly wisdom. Inscrutable Americans recounts Gopal's run-ins with small town American with an amused tolerance that springs from the author's understanding of both cultures. As a classic immigrant/exile, Mathur has a wry sense of detachment that arises out of physical and emotional distance experienced by all people who have moved away from their native cultures and have tried assimilating into a new one. Mathur is a cultural hybrid with affiliation to two cultures like a vast majority of people in today's world. He therefore, has the ability to observe and enjoy the quirks of American as well as Indian society. This dual vision shared by both Mathur and his protagonist is common to all immigrants, and makes an enjoyable reading for people of diverse cultures.