• ‘‘
    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)

CurledUp on India Becoming

CurledUp.com is a great books site, and it’s just run a nice, positive review of India Becoming, along with an interview. “A riveting cast of characters populate Kapur’s finely nuanced narrative,” writes Ram Subramaniam. “By shining a probing lens on their lives, Kapur points out how people confront, manage, and sometimes succumb to change…. He is able to skillfully penetrate the veneer of opacity posed by his interviewees and to get them to dig deep inside themselves to confront their reaction to the changes. He is part questioner and part interventionist, and he captures both sides in unobtrusive prose that lets the voices of the protagonists emerge strongly.”

More →

Rushdie on censorship and the air we breathe

I just read Salman Rushdie’s brilliant take on censorship, from his PEN lecture, and reprinted in The New Yorker online. He writes about the view that writers should just “offer us beauty” and avoid rocking the boat–an argument I hear so often, even from apparently liberal types who claim they defend the right to free expression but just wish writers would avoid giving offence.

Rushdie’s response: “Great art, or, let’s just say, more modestly, original art is never created in the safe middle ground, but always at the edge. Originality is dangerous. It challenges, questions, overturns assumptions, unsettles moral codes, disrespects sacred cows or other such entities. It can be shocking, or ugly, or, to use the catch-all term so beloved of the tabloid press, controversial. And if we believe in liberty, if we want the air we breathe to remain plentiful and breathable, this is the art whose right to exist we must not only defend, but celebrate. Art is not entertainment. At its very best, it’s a revolution.”

Coming this September, and eagerly anticipated: Rushdie’s memoir, titled Joseph Anton.

On a related note, take a look at Nilanjana Roy’s tongue-in-cheek look at subjects “Indians shouldn’t write about if they want to avoid giving offence (and going to jail.”

More →

India Becoming in Der Spiegel

Nice essay on India Becoming in Der Spiegel. The author of the piece, Hasnain Kazim, is the South Asia correspondent for Der Spiegel, and a thought-provoking writer. I highly recommend some of his work. See, for example, this piece on immigration in Germany.

For non-German readers (and that includes me), you can translate the article on India Becoming by opening it in a Chrome browser window and using Google Translate.

More →

Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Late Night Live

I had a very nice chat with Phillip Adams on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Late Night Live. I’d never heard the show before, but really enjoyed his laid-back conversational style. Wish I could have been in studio for the call, but it was done by phone from Pondicherry.

More →

India Becoming on NPR’s All Things Considered

India Becoming was featured on a segment of Weekend All Things Considered recently. Nice to talk to Guy Raz after hearing him so many times.

More →

Review in The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast selects India Becoming as a “Nonfiction Must Read.”  A nice review–although I confess to being a bit shocked that I’m referred to as a “veteran journalist.”

More →

India Becoming in the WSJ

I’m posting this late, but the Wall Street Journal ran a Q&A with me about India Becoming.  I just realized that I used the word “intensity” three times in the last two answers.

More →

India Becoming on the Diane Rehm Show

I had a great time talking to Diane Rehm about India Becoming and my life in South India. It was an honor to be on her radio show. You can listen to a recording here.

More →

The New Republic on India Becoming

The New Republic reviews India Becoming. A thoughtful essay by Alexandra Sage Mehta on what she calls “the reverse commute.” Look forward to reading her book.

More →

Book launch at The Asia Society

India Becoming was officially launched on March 15th at The Asia Society in New York.  See my reading and conversation here with Philip Gourevitch.

More →