Oliver Balch

Noonday’s Children

The Epic City: The World on the Streets of Calcutta


Bloomsbury Circus 238pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

The End of Karma: Hope and Fury among India’s Young


W W Norton 256pp £21.99 order from our bookshop

At one time, it almost seemed that authors had to leave India in order to write about it. With distance comes perspective, the theory goes. Or maybe there’s just more space to think in leafy Massachusetts than in India’s teeming ‘metros’. Either way, the list of Indian émigré writers is a long one, from Rohinton Mistry and Anita Desai to Amit Chaudhuri and Vikram Seth. But now a new generation of non-resident Indians are packing their bags and heading back. Why?

Kushanava Choudhury offers several reasons: a desire to make a difference and a compulsion to revisit his past. (Dare I suggest another reason, a contract to write a book?) Certainly, returning to Calcutta (as it was still officially known when he left at the age of almost twelve) was not the obvious choice for Choudhury. After an adolescence in New Jersey and a stint at Princeton, he decided to take a job as a reporter at The Statesman, Calcutta’s prestigious but ailing newspaper, before returning to the USA to continue his education.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,