• ‘‘
    This is a remarkably absorbing account of an India in transition – full of challenges and contradictions, but also of expectations, hope, and ultimately optimism.”
    — Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate
  • ‘‘
    There are many virtues of Akash Kapur’s beautifully sketched portrait of modern India. The book reads like a novel. Kapur’s skill is to get people talking and to weave their stories into a necessarily messy debate about India’s future.”
    The Financial Times
  • ‘‘
    Impressively lucid and searching... In his clarity, sympathy and impeccably sculpted prose, Kapur often summons the spirit of V. S. Naipaul.”
    — Pico Iyer, Time magazine
  • ‘‘
    A wonderful writer: a courageously clear-eyed
    observer, an astute listener, a masterful portraitist, and a gripping storyteller.”
    — Philip Gourevitch,
         author of We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We
         Will Be Killed With Our Families
  • ‘‘
    [R]eadable, acutely observed, and crammed with well-drawn characters.... Mr. Kapur offers a corrective to a simplistic 'new, happy narrative' of a rising India. That is welcome and he does it well.”
    The Economist
  • ‘‘
    Marvelous... Sharp-eyed, insightful, skillfully-sketched and
    beautifully written, India Becoming is the
    remarkable debut of a distinctive new talent.”
    — William Dalrymple, author of Nine Lives
  • ‘‘
    Akash Kapur lives in and writes out of an India that few writers venture into. His writing has established him as one of the most reliable observers of the New India.”
    — Pankaj Mishra, author of Temptations of the West
  • ‘‘
    Lucid, balanced. Kapur is determinedly fair-minded, neither an apologist nor a scold, and he is a wonderfully empathetic listener.”
    The New York Times Book Review
  • ‘‘
    Through a series of deft character sketches, Akash Kapur captures the contradictions of life in modern India...His writing is fresh and vivid; his perspective, empathetic and appealingly non-judgemental.”
    — Ramachandra Guha,
         author of India after Gandhi
  • ‘‘
    A fascinating look at the transformation of India, with broader lessons on the upside and downside of progress.”
    Booklist (starred review)

Review of Rushdie’s Joseph Anton

from Bloomberg Businessweek

Rushdie makes no pretense at objective analysis, but in the shade and texture he offers, in his portrayal of a man caught between the jaws of civilizational conflict, he does something far more valuable. He insists on complexity and nuance where polemic and cliché so often reign. This is what writers do. And this, ultimately, is Rushdie’s triumph. In an age of rising intolerance and diminished literary confidence, Joseph Anton—like Rushdie’s own life—strikes a blow for the continued relevance of literature.

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Huffington Post on India Becoming

A small but generous mention of India Becoming in The Huffington Post. Anis Shivani calls it “gorgeously written.” His essay is really about several recent non-fiction books on India. I highly recommend the others he mentions…

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An essay in Time magazine’s special on India

Time magazine’s special issue on “Reinventing India” hits the newsstands today, and my opening essay, “In Search of a New India,” is in it. I argue that India is at an “inflection point—increasingly disenchanted with its current trajectory, aware of the limitations in its current model of development, yet still grasping for a new model.”

The article is unfortunately only available online to subscribers, so you might have to pick up a copy at the newsstand.

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India Becoming excerpted in Open magazine

The Indian edition of India Becoming came out this week–with revised text and a new Epilogue–and it was excerpted in the very excellent Open magazine. Check out the Events section of this website for upcoming talks and appearances in India related to the book.

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Newsweek names India Becoming a “Must-Read” on modern India

Newsweek magazine recently named India Becoming one of its three “Must-Reads on Modern India.” The other two books it named are excellent, and I highly recommend them both: Pankaj Mishra’s From the Ruins of Empire, and Aman Sethi’s A Free Man.

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Declining optimism in India

This year’s Pew Global Attitudes survey reveals a striking decline in optimism among Indians. The most striking statistic: just 38% of Indians are satisfied with the country’s direction, down from 51% last year. The question this raises:  Are such numbers a depressing indication of bad times, or actually signs of a healthy new realism about the country? It’s been a rough year in India, for sure, but, as I suggest in India Becoming, the country has often over-estimated its situation–and often to its great detriment.

Another very striking finding in the survey: rich Indians are far more positive about the country’s prospects than poor and middle-income Indians. I think that’s a very telling finding.


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Salman Rushdie’s brilliant memoir

I’ve been waiting for Salman’s Rushdie’s memoir of his years in hiding, Joseph Anton, for some time now. This week The New Yorker published an excerpt–and now I know the wait was worth it. It’s a brilliant piece of writing–thoughtful, surprising, deeply moving. It’s essential reading for anyone who cares about freedom of expression, and about the toll political or religious fanaticism can take on individual liberties and human life.

I also came across this trailer for Deepa Mehta’s adaptation of Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. It’s going to be a big year for anyone who cares about Rushdie’s work. So happy to see him in the news for all the right reasons–brilliant writing, a brilliant mind, rather than NY socialite gossip.

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Danish and Italian press on India Becoming

An international roundup: two recent articles in the European press on India Becoming. One from Brief, a Danish magazine, and the other from East, in Italy. (The Italian article is also available in an–imperfectly translated–English version).

Please also take a look at Carlo Pizzati’s very fine “Open Letter to India” in the article from East.

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Reuters Book Talk on India Becoming

An interview with Nick Zieminski of Reuters, in which I talk about my favorite India books (and wonder if I’m confused).

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NYT on India Becoming

The New York Times finally runs its review of India Becoming, and it’s a nice, positive thoughtful one. Geoffrey C. Ward says it’s a “lucid, balanced new book.” He says I’m sometimes “reiterative” (a nicer way of saying “repetitive,” I think: I love it when reviewers are generous with their choice of words), but continues: “Kapur is determinedly fair-minded, neither an apologist nor a scold, and he is a wonderfully empathetic listener, willing patiently to visit and revisit a large cast of men and women over several years to learn how they are benefiting from — and being battered by — the change going on all around them.”

“Kapur is especially qualified to assess the contrasts and contradictions all that change has brought,” he writes. “[He] is at his best when writing about what is happening out in the country, where he has chosen to live. ”


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