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Amitava Kumar on Writing in English

Amitava Kumar discusses the politics of writing in English as well as the desire, or need, to get published in the West rather than be content with getting published in India.

“I read the message from my friend and wondered whether Paul Auster had ever heard of Patna.

Although I hadn’t till then read anything by Auster, I now felt a connection. A couple summers ago, I saw a young woman on the beach reading The Invention of Solitude, and bought a copy the next day. When Auster’s memoir Report from the Interior came out last year, I again picked up a copy. Early in the book, there is mention of “the starving children in India.” Auster is describing a scene from his childhood. American mothers in the 1950s talked of half-naked, emaciated Indian children begging for food so that they could shame their own kids into finishing what was on their dinner-plates. This pleased me, but the memory was so general that it took on the character of a myth, which is what, in the end, it was. read rest here


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