Synopses & Reviews
The author of the widely praised Lunch With a Bigot now gives us a remarkable novel — reminiscent of Teju Cole, W. G. Sebald, John Berger — about a young new immigrant to the United States in search of love: across dividing lines between cultures, between sexes, and between the particular desires of one man and the women he comes to love.
The young man is Kailash, from India. His new American friends call him Kalashnikov, AK-47, AK. He takes it all in his stride: he wants to fit in — and more than that, to shine. In the narrative of his years at a university in New York, AK describes the joys and disappointments of his immigrant experience; the unfamiliar political and social textures of campus life; the indelible influence of a charismatic professor — also an immigrant, his personal history as dramatic as AK’s is decidedly not; the very different natures of the women he loved, and of himself in and out of love with each of them. Telling his own story, AK is both meditative and the embodiment of the enthusiasm of youth in all its idealism and chaotic desires. His wry, vivid perception of the world he’s making his own, and the brilliant melding of story and reportage, anecdote and annotation, picture and text, give us a singularly engaging, insightful, and moving novel — one that explores the varieties and vagaries of cultural misunderstanding, but is, as well, an impassioned investigation of love.
“Amitava Kumar’s Immigrant, Montana is a beguiling meditation on memory and migration, sex and politics, ideas and art, and race and ambiguity. Part novel, part memoir, this book is as sly, charming, and deceptive as its passionate protagonist, a writer writing himself into being.” Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer
“There is a buoyant energy and hilarity to this account of an Indian student seeking the wide world through the women he meets, but one laughs with growing unease as a darker undercurrent is slowly revealed. An unusual, brave twist on the migrant’s tale.” Kiran Desai, author of the Man Booker Prize-winning The Inheritance of Loss
“Amitava Kumar’s Immigrant, Montana is romantic, natural, gorgeously detailed, and painfully truthful about exile, grad school, sex, and the South Asian man. Few novels have captured the mental texture of immigration so accurately.” Karan Mahajan, author of The Association of Small Bombs
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK
ONE OF THE NEW YORKER'S BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
Carrying a single suitcase, Kailash arrives in post-Reagan America from India to attend graduate school. As he begins to settle into American existence, Kailash comes under the indelible influence of a charismatic professor, and also finds his life reshaped by a series of very different women with whom he recklessly falls in and out of love.
Looking back on the formative period of his youth, Kailash's wry, vivid perception of the world he is in, but never quite of, unfurls in a brilliant melding of anecdote and annotation, picture and text. Building a case for himself, both as a good man in spite of his flaws and as an American in defiance of his place of birth, Kailash weaves a story that is at its core an incandescent investigation of love--despite, beyond, and across dividing lines.
About the Author
Amitava Kumar is a writer and journalist. He was born in Ara, and grew up in the nearby town of Patna, famous for its corruption, crushing poverty, and delicious mangoes. Kumar is the author of several books of nonfiction and a novel. He lives in Poughkeepsie, in upstate New York, where he is Helen D. Lockwood Professor of English at Vassar College. In 2016, Amitava Kumar was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (General Nonfiction) as well as a Ford Fellowship in Literature from United States Artists.
Amitava Kumar on PowellsBooks.Blog
A girlfriend gave me a book about Ota Benga. It was a used book with marks made with a pink highlighter. Then, a few weeks later, she gave me another copy of the same book. Did she not remember her earlier gift? For my part, I not only kept tabs on every gift I gave her, but, and I’m sure this wasn’t just because I was poor, I also remembered the price...