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More on Sunjeev Sahota—one of Granta’s ‘20 under 40’ authors—and Jhumpa Lahiri


East India Tales

This must be a first of sorts—Jhumpa Lahiri’s forthcoming novel The Lowlands has been long-listed for the Boo­ker Prize even before it has been published. It covers familiar territory—exile and return, America and India. The story has two brothers—Udayan, who gets drawn to the Naxalite movement, and Subhash, who leaves home for an academic life in a quiet, coastal corner of US. The crux comes when Subhash learns what has happened to his brother back home and tries to pick up the pieces of a shattered family. The book is out in India in the last week of September.

Embracing A Garret

What, you quit a well-paying, respectable day job to become a full-time wri­ter, was the exclamation that greeted Sunjeev Sahota—one of Granta’s ‘20 under 40’ authors (Best of the Young British Novelists)—who is on a India visit. This is the list Granta comes up once every 10 years—Rushdie, McEwan and Ishiguro have all figured in it. Sunjeev, lanky and soft-spoken, and the only one in the list of Indian origin, was at pains to explain that he was giving writing a serious go and Granta selecting him is a big boost. His first book, Our are the Streets, did fairly well and he is on to his second novel, The Year of the Runa­ways. Good luck, Sunjeev.

Stateside Views

There’s a burst of books on Bihar. Soon after Bihar Breakthrough by Raj­esh Chakrabarti came Amitava Kumar’s incisive A Matter of Rats: A Short Biography of Patna. Now there is a book by Patna’s redoubtable economist-bureaucrat, N.K. Singh: The New Bihar: Rekindling Gove­rnance and Development. With aut­hor-diplo­mat Pavan Varma as Nitish Kumar’s advisor, will there be one by him too?

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