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 toward sexual integration in the West is cast (to quote the author’s note) as “a work of fiction as well as nonfiction, an in-between novel by an in-between writer,” complete with multiple epigraphs, pictures, footnotes academic and digressive, and both pop-cultural and literary-theoretical references.

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Notebooks

 

Over at Instagram, I’m engaged in a personal curatorial project: I’m looking at my old notebooks, some as much as twenty years old, and the clippings I have made about writers or about writing. I take a picture of the page and then erase what I think is less important. This is editorial work but it is also a visual experiment: a presentation of photographic evidence of the thinking that went into the writing of Immigrant, Montana.

Confessions of a Beef-Eater

I have a piece in this week’s The Nation a special issue on food.

I’ll confess to the sin of beef eating in a moment. let me first confess to the sin of not having a true knowledge of science.

In May of this year, Justice Mahesh Chandra Sharma of the Rajasthan High Court suggested that the cow be adopted as the national animal of India. His rationale was that millions of gods and goddesses reside in the cow. And here’s the crucial science bit: According to the judge, the “cow is the only living being which intakes oxygen and emits oxygen.”

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A Man Is Being Killed

On the anniversary of the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri, I wrote a brief prose-poem which was published by The Wire:

A lot of life is left in a man being killed.

He does not at first foresee the end. He knows, of course, that anything can happen. When it begins his only worry is that he will be unable to work. At the very least, he thinks, he will be unable to lift heavy loads. He had himself made the door of his room from which they dragged him out.

Then it settles in as disappointment. There was so much more work to be done in the unfinished house. The iron rods striking him are raising dust from a ground sown with regret.

He knows he can list the names of the men whose voices he recognises in the dark. A few from the dinner in his house only two nights ago. He will repeat the names to the police, he tells himself, before losing consciousness for a minute.

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