When Amitava Kumar left Patna, India, he envisioned himself as an up-and-coming citizen of the world, leaving behind the confines of Indian traditions. Yet like the wave of exiles that preceded him, he found that once we leave our past, we are defined by it: in the U.S. he is pigeonholed by his appearance and quizzed about saris and arranged marriages. "There is no beginning that is a blank page," writes Kumar. Circling the three capitals of the Indian diaspora, Bombay-London-New York captures the contours of the expatriate experience, touching on the themes of abandonment, nostalgia, and exile that have powered some of the most prominent Indian writers today - Naipaul, Rushdie, Roy, Kureishi, as well as E.M. Forster and Gandhi. With resonant, poetic language and a storyteller's sensibility, Kumar explores the works of these writers through the lens of his own life as an immigrant and writer. As their fiction reveals, the past of the expatriate is mythical, shaped by memory and loss. With tales of life in India and London and meditations on the form Indian fiction gives to the lives of those who read about it, this is a sweeping, passionate search to find one's own story in the stories of others.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Published: United Kingdom, 31 October 2002
Format: Paperback / softback, 296 pages
Other Information: 16 b&w photographs
Dimensions: 21.8 x 16.6 x 2 centimeters (0.27 kg)
Writer: Amitava Kumar