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The Resource Immigrant, Montana, Amitava Kumar

Immigrant, Montana, Amitava Kumar

Label
Immigrant, Montana
Title
Immigrant, Montana
Statement of responsibility
Amitava Kumar
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
A student from India attending a university in New York meditatively and idealistically navigates the unfamiliar political and social dynamics of campus life as an immigrant while searching for love in ways that shape his ideas about culture and boundaries
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
New York Times Notable Book, 2018
Review
  • Kailash, also known as AK-47, is a graduate student from India in the early 1990s, wide-eyed and ready for an education in the ways of the West. Early on, it becomes apparent that he is insecure and inexperienced in the art of romance, a problem compounded by his alienation: “I was overcome by a feeling that took root then and has never left me, the feeling that in this land that was someone else’s country, I did not have a place to stand.” Kumar (Lunch with a Bigot, 2015) effectively traces Kailash’s gradual evolution from a sex-starved Beavis and Butt-Head–like persona who uses and hurts women at will to a more mature man who contrasts his current circumstances with his past and his roots. “No one in my family had married outside our caste. Love was the province ruled by kids with cars and membership to clubs.” Though a bit disjointed, interspersed, as it is, with musings about historical figures and insights into colonialism, Kumar’s immigrant tale is nonetheless arresting. -- Apte, Poornima (Reviewed 6/1/2018) (Booklist, vol 114, number 19, p33)
  • /* Starred Review */ The plot of Kumar’s droll and exhilarating second novel (following Nobody Does the Right Thing) may feel familiar at first, but this coming-of-age-in-the-city story is bolstered by the author’s captivating prose, which keeps it consistently surprising and hilarious. Indian immigrant Kailash arrives in New York in 1990 wide-eyed but also wry, self-aware, and intellectually thirsty. Kailash lives uptown and attends college, and soon has his first sexual experience, with the socially conscious Jennifer, a coworker at the bookstore where he works, who brings him hummus and takes him ice skating. After he and Jennifer break up, he begins to date the mischievous Nina, followed by a series of other young women; the novel’s seven parts are titled after Kailash’s romantic partners, his formal education intertwined with his personal education. Nina takes Kailash to Montana, where his memories of lovemaking are tangled with snippets of Victor Hugo, Wittgenstein, and the history of British colonialism in India. After several peregrinations, explorations, and women, Kailash lands back in Manhattan with a similarly academically curious woman named Cai Yan, who is also from India. Ultimately, his journey is more intellectual than physical, and the book includes a plethora of lively literary and cultural references in footnotes, sidebars, and illustrations. This novel is an inventive delight, perfectly pitched to omnivorous readers. 50,000-copy announced first printing. (July) --Staff (Reviewed 05/14/2018) (Publishers Weekly, vol 265, issue 20, p)
  • Blurring the line between fiction and nonfiction, this second novel from Vassar English professor/journalist Kumar (after Husband of a Fanatic) is a hybrid text (partly autobiographical) that moves seamlessly between Indian immigrant graduate student Kailash and numerous real-life figures and events. Kailash arrived in New York as a graduate student two decades previously, and his transformation from foreigner to citizen is reflected in his very name, adapted to Kalashnikov—an iconic Kumar irony because a Soviet assault weapon is more American than the holy pilgrimage site Kailash's name suggests—or truncated to the easier AK or just 47. Kumar explicates Kailash's "in-between" immigrant journey through his loves, his friends, and his mentors. In what is cleverly presented as a self-defense before an imaginary judge, Kailash recalls and challenges his memories, underscoring both his assimilation and his rebellion. VERDICT Cosmopolitan readers interested in multicultural literary fiction—à la Kiran Desai, Ha Jin, and Hanif Kureishi—will find affinity in this modern Bildungsroman of an erudite global citizen. [See Prepub Alert, 1/22/18.] --Terry Hong (Reviewed 07/01/2018) (Library Journal, vol 143, issue 12, p68)
  • An Indian graduate student arrives in New York determined to sort out both his love life and post-colonialism. There are mixed results for the narrator and the novel both, though the two are closely aligned since the book is inspired by Kumar's (English/Vassar; Nobody Does the Right Thing, 2010, etc.) own experiences. Kailash comes to America in 1990 prepared to study the intersection of the West and his native India. Intellectual stimulation abounds, but he still feels disconnected: "In this land that was someone else's country, I did not have a place to stand," Kumar writes. In that regard, he's upending the traditional immigrant narrative by writing an assimilation novel whose hero can't quite assimilate. But it's not for want of trying. One relationship fizzles after his girlfriend gets an abortion; another ends when the literal and cultural distance between them becomes too much to overcome. (It didn't help that when he proposed marriage, she said, "You want to do it for the green card?") Academically, Kailash is taken under the wing of Ehsaan Ali, a political scholar (modeled after Eqbal Ahmad) who once conspired to kidnap Henry Kissinger. Kailash's intellectual pursuits—particularly the life of Agnes Smedley, an American who supported anti-British Indian revolutionaries—are woven alongside his personal ones. It's a loose braid, though, and not always an artful one. Kumar's novel is modeled on the free-range autofictions of Teju Cole or Ben Lerner, prizing interior contemplation of a host of subjects instead of a strong narrative spine. Kumar, though, never quite settles into a comfortable emotional mode—the book is sometimes academically stiff, sometimes pleading (he often delivers asides to "Your Honor," as if his identity were on trial). As an evocation of the confusions of global disconnection, it's an effective strategy but not always a narratively compelling one. A whip-smart if sometimes-arid exploration of home—or lack thereof. (Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2018)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10677167
Cataloging source
FMG
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1963-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Kumar, Amitava
Dewey number
824/.92
Illustrations
illustrations
Index
no index present
LC call number
PR9499.4.K8618
LC item number
I47 2018
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • East Indians
  • College students
  • Self-realization
  • Immigrants
Target audience
adult
Label
Immigrant, Montana, Amitava Kumar
Instantiates
Publication
Note
"This is a Borzoi book"--Title page verso
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First Alfred A. Knopf edition.
Extent
304 pages
Isbn
9780525520757
Lccn
2017050682
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
  • on1044767626
  • (OCoLC)1044767626
Label
Immigrant, Montana, Amitava Kumar
Publication
Note
"This is a Borzoi book"--Title page verso
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First Alfred A. Knopf edition.
Extent
304 pages
Isbn
9780525520757
Lccn
2017050682
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
  • on1044767626
  • (OCoLC)1044767626

Library Locations

    • Williamsburg LibraryBorrow it
      515 Scotland Street, Williamsburg, VA, 23185, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
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