The Indian Writer as an Expatriate
Edited by Amitava Kumar
Routledge – 2004 – 426 pages
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.
"Indians have been describing their passage to the western world, and their experiences and encounters there, since the last years of the eighteenth century. This invaluable anthology is an antidote to the idea that the traffic in description was only one-way. Here the East reports on the West, vividly, comically, enlighteningly." -- Ian Jack, Granta
"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
"The book is full of such treasures. My only regret is that Kumar couldn't find room for the delightful Jumpha Lahiri, who is such a lovely writer." -- Courier Mail/Australian newspaper
"Its juxtaposition of the likes of Chaudhari, Rushdie, Tagore, Gandhi, and Rohinton Mistry create a delightful atmosphere for a non-Indian reader to start from, and indulge in. The book is full of treasures." -- Rosemary Sorensen, The Courier-Mail
"Unlike many anthologies of its sort, Away's disparate pieces coalesce into something far greater than the sum of its parts, no mean feat given the quality of those parts. […] Enthralling and upsetting in equal measure." -- James Bradley, The Age
Amitava Kumar was born in Patna, India. He is Associate Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University. A writer and poet, he is the author, most recently, of Bombay-London-New York, also published by Routledge. He lives in University Park, PA.