Synopses & Reviews
Praise for Bombay-London-New York (ISBN 0 415 94211 X): "As a literary critic, memoirist and social historian, Amitava Kumar is a rare and bracing presence in the world of Indian writing in English." --Pankaj Mishra
In the past twenty years, Indian writers have won wide praise in the West. Many of the best live outside the Subcontinent - in England, the United States, and Canada. Away brings together great writing by figures from South Asia who give voice to the experience of the exile and the emigrant. R.K. Narayan writes of his first visit to America. Rabindranath Tagore, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, writes of his first trip by airplane. Salman Rushdie eats the eggs of love in a Sandinista camp in Nicaragua. V.S. Naipaul describes his sister's funeral ceremony in Trinidad, while the poet Sarojini Naidu sends love letters home to her husband. The memoirist Ved Mehta recounts applying for an American visa. The rising politician Jawaharlal Nehru asks for news from India as he travels across the world campaigning for freedom. This star-studded list of contributors also includes Hanif Kureishi, Rohinton Mistry, Meera Syal, and others. Amitava Kumar's introduction beautifully sets out the complex feelings that animate the writings that follow. Away is a feast.
For more than a generation, Indian writers in English have won praise in the West. The roll call of Indian-born writers is startling: Rushdie, Mukerjee, Mehta, Ghosh, Naipaul, Kureishi, Narayan, Mistry, among many others.
Amitava Kumar, himself an Indian writer now 'away' in America, is editing a broad anthology of work by Indian writers whose lives and literary identities have been formed by their experiences in some form of exile. Spanning writing from the 1920s to the present, Away contains work by the writers mentioned above, alongside earlier pieces by Gandhi, Nehru, and Tagore, and a wide range of writers over the last half-century.