The New Yorker’s Katy Waldman says that her books of 2018 represent “an energizing alternative to the ripped-apart illogic of our contemporary reality.” Among them is Amitava Kumar’s Immigrant, Montana, which is published by Knopf in the US, and Faber & Faber in the UK.
The novel follows the story of Indian Immigrant, Kailash who arrives at a graduate school in New York, 1990. Part novel, part memoir the writing has also been praised by Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Refugees and The Sympathiser as ‘a beguiling meditation on memory and migration, sex and politics, ideas and art, and race and ambiguity’ and the book is featured in Vanity Fair’s This Season’s Ultimate fiction list.
Waldman says, “This is a discovery of country through the discovery of that country’s women. But Kumar’s “nonfiction novel,” about an Indian student who comes to the United States to study literature, is tentative, funny, and self-critical—it inverts and skewers the colonial narrative. Kailash meets Jennifer at his university bookstore and Nina in his film class, and, with his older self narrating each initial intoxication, the novel emulates the digressive turnings of W. G. Sebald or Teju Cole, adding a gentle heat that is all its own.”
Amitava Kumar works as a journalist and has written several works of prize-winning literary non-fiction.