Posts Categorized: Criticism

New Interview

Jeffrey Williams (JW): Your new novel, Immigrant, Montana, has been widely reviewed and most of the reviews have touted it as autofiction, although it strikes me that it is not really autobiographical. Having known you for a long time, I’d say you conducted a skillful ruse, giving it the air of autobiography.   Amitava Kumar… Read more »

He’s Gotta Have It

In the pages of the latest New Yorker, Joanna Biggs has a lovely, absorbing review of Immigrant, Montana. The new book falls between genres. Its aim is not to tell a story, exactly, but to create a portrait of a mind moving uneasily between a new, chosen culture and the one left behind. Kailash’s journey… Read more »

Heat of Life

My brief piece for the Chronicle of Higher Ed’s Lingua Franca on Matthew Desmond’s Evicted. This book won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction in 2017. In an author’s note, Desmond has written that often the very people he was studying taught him how to see. Nevertheless, he missed much, at least at first, “not… Read more »

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

  My review of Arundhati Roy’s novel The Ministry of Utmost Happiness in Bookforum: On the morning of June 9, 2012, Avtar Singh called 911 in Selma, California, to say that he had killed his family and was about to turn the gun on himself. When the police reached his house, they sent in a… Read more »

Mohsin Hamid’s _Exit West_

  The review I wrote of Mohsin Hamid’s latest novel, Exit West, appears in the new Bookforum (Feb/Mar, 2017). My thanks to the model in the top picture–he was home the day the magazine arrived because school had been cancelled due to snow.

I Testify That

In my final The Bookist column I write about the testimonies offered by Dalits and others. A letter came from Los Angeles. It had been written by an upper-caste Marathi chemist. From this letter, an untouchable poet in Maharashtra found out that Indians in America were treated like dogs. This, I imagine, was in the… Read more »

More Stoner

Here’s my latest blog-post for The Chronicle’s Lingua Franca: When the writer Jim Harrison died last month, I came across the following quote from one of his books: “I wasn’t very long at Stony Brook,” he writes in Off to the Side, “when it occurred to me that the English department had all the charm… Read more »

Nothing Happens

My latest “The Bookist” column for HT Brunch: “Eight Essential Tips for Writers” or “10 Rules for Writing Fiction” or “Advice from Writers” – such bland compilations often include the following line from Kurt Vonnegut: “Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.” But then you come across novels… Read more »

The Literature of Sedition

In my latest The Bookist column for HT Brunch, I have reviewed the literature that is critical of the nation-state and its violence. If the police were to burst into your room while you were sleeping and, putting a gun to your head, ask you to name a literary work that was critical of the… Read more »