The City of Love by Rimi B Chatterjee is an Indian English novel, recently published by Penguin. The publisher's blurb is provocative- "It challenges everything we think we know about that world" and enticing "a richly textured narrative that is hard to put down". The Hindu is equally charmed, "This is … an acknowledgement of the tradition of our epics, the easy ability of gods and narrators, often the same person, to digress and begin a new story while in the middle of another, like a taan embellishing the body of a raag."
The author, Rimi Chatterjee is a novelist, translator, and academic. She was born in Belfast, grew up in England and came to live in India at the age of ten. Empires of the Mind: A History of Oxford University Press in India During the Raj published in 2006, won the SHARP de Long prize for that year. She is now a lecturer in English at Jadavpur University, having previously been at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, and the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. Her other interests include martial arts, gardening and theatre.
It is ironic that the first book of IWE, Indian Writing in English, on our site is from Kolkata, and this on the day when the papers are filled (to our eyes, at least) with the news that the Kolkata Book Fair has been cancelled this year. Cancelled. Such finality.
The entire episode has a tragic air to it... and all for want of some foresight on the part of all parties concerned. Having seen the usual cast of characters- the politicians, booklovers, authors and publishers- express their outrage on national TV, one wonders. Did nobody see it coming? The things that we truly care about should not be taken so lightly.
Our IWE section is thin, but will grow...