Maitreyi is a memoir about the love between Mircea Eliade and an Indian girl named, well, Maitreyi. Here's a little context: Although he is named Alain in the book, the story is real and Eliade copies from his own journals. The real-life Maitreyi learns about the book years later, and learns about what the book tells even later than that. Eliade and Maitreyi run into each other in the US much later in life, and she makes him promise that the book won't be published in English (It obviously does, though it's after Maitreyi's death). It's an interesting fact that Maitreyi wrote a play in reply to this book, telling the events from her perspective.
The book was enjoyable, but I'm not sure if it's Eliade's writing or it's just that something worth telling happened to him. I don't know how much of the book is made up, but the story is very interesting in itself, so Eliade didn't have to try hard for that. Although, I have to admit he does a good job describing the sights of India and how it felt to be in love with and make love to Maitreyi.
I'm annoyed with everyone in the book. At the beginning, like his peer European and Anglo-Indians, Eliade despises Indians and sees them as ignorant, dark-skinned (thus inferior) people. Even after moving into Mr. Sen's house, he cannot admit that he finds Maitreyi attractive, because he's expected to find her repulsive. He can only confess (to himself) he likes the Sen family after months of living with them. During their flirtation, he latches onto every single detail he can find to belittle Maitreyi in his journal, as if to convince himself she's not someone that deserves to be loved. And in a craze of lust, he lies to both himself and Maitreyi that they will get married. He gets what they've been both waiting for, and when things go sour, he leaves without a single word.
He can't be a man and stand up for his love. Much like the notorious Humbert Humbert, he cleverly conceals his cowardice behind excuses like "being honourable, keeping his promise to Mr. Sen" and "to avoid upsetting Maitreyi any further". He even has the nerve to say that he was trying to free himself from Maitreyi's love when he sleeps with Jenny Isaac during his recluse. Just admit it, you're a man, and you're not thinking with your brain. Ugh. And Mr. and Mrs. Sen? Despite having evil plans of adopting Alain and moving to England where they can "live like rajahs", they kick him out without a moment's notice. Poor Maitreyi is the only one without ulterior motives, but she's the victim of her own romanticism. She cannot get a response from Alain to her major sacrifices, because he doesn't share her grand visions of love and spirituality. He gets what he wants, then bolts. What a sad story.