My Beloved Life: Excerpts, Reviews, Interviews

My Beloved Life
My Beloved Life: Excerpts, Reviews, Interviews:


“This profound book is full of lives whose beauty lies in the wholeness of their telling. A father, a daughter, a crime, a country being born, a migration, another country, a plague. ‘We are in touch with a great astonishing mystery when we put honest words down on paper to register a life and to offer witness. Everything else is ordinary,’ Kumar writes. His novel offers magnificent witness, and is not ordinary but extraordinary.” —Salman Rushdie

“What makes a life? My Beloved Life addresses this most fundamental of questions with all of Amitava Kumar’s trademark wisdom and wit. A novel of vaulting ambition and tenderness, about how histories, both personal and national, are built, refracted, and revised.” —Katie Kitamura, author of Intimacies

"beautiful, truthful fiction" — James Wood in The New Yorker

"Kumar unfurls a majestic Indian family saga in successive bildungsroman narratives of a father and daughter . . . A stunning final chapter sheds new light on their stories . . . Kumar excels at blending mysticism and a refined cosmopolitan perspective . . . Readers will find much to savor." Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A quiet, appealing, deceptively ambitious Indian (and Indian American) family saga covering 1935-2020. . . The author’s daring here takes the unusual form of modesty, quiet, calm; few big plot elements arise, and Kumar leaves lots of space for digression, anecdote, observation, and Jadu’s well-meaning mildness. Kumar’s patience—and the reader’s—pay off handsomely, though, when we jump forward to the end of Jadu’s life as seen through his daughter Jugnu’s eyes and grasp the book’s full sweep. . . [My Beloved Life] pays tribute to two people who make noticing, attentiveness, and storytelling the central pillars of their lives. Late in the book, Jugnu encapsulates the novel’s premise and ambition when she says, “I believe strongly that we are in touch with a great astonishing mystery when we put honest words down on paper to register a life and to offer witness.”An immersive, moving portrait that steadily gathers intensity, vividness, and surprise.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

My Beloved Life is storytelling at its best.” — Bookpage (starred review)

"A vivid exploration of some of life’s most painful experiences—the catastrophic breakup of a marriage, political violence, and social crisis, the death of one’s parents—and how we manage to go on afterward..." — Chronogram Magazine

"If you are in the mood for a big-hearted saga, it is the perfect book for you—a rare find." — Center4Fiction newsletter

“Amitava Kumar oozes talent from every fiber of his being. His nonfiction—journalism, criticism, essay and memoir—digs deep; his artwork—sketches, collages and watercolors—are vibrant, immediate responses to the world around him. But it’s his fiction that has truly established him as one of the most perceptive, versatile, and wonder-filled minds of our time. From the searching, lustful adventures of a transplanted American in Immigrant, Montana to the autofictional A Time Outside This Time and now, the broad, elegiac canvas of My Beloved Life, his restless, unbridled imagination continues to astonish.”  Anderson Tepper

"Shows what good fiction can achieve... A highly sophisticated, self-aware novel from a writer operating at the peak of his powers." — The Federal
" Excellent novel..." — Open Magazine

"The Book Show," WAMC interview with Joe Donahue

Slate's "Working" Podcast interview about writing the novel and writing in general

Amitava Kumar's essay for Scroll on the writing of My Beloved Life

Tricycle interview about being in the bardo bearing witness to life and death

South Asian Films and Books Podcast interview with Alka Kurian

Amitava Kumar for LitHub on writers and the deaths of the fathers

Amitava Kumar in Hazlitt on writing a novel with pictures

Order the Book from Penguin Random House.