The author of the widely praised Lunch with a Bigot now gives us a remarkable novel--reminiscent of Teju Cole, W. G. Sebald, John Berger--about a young new immigrant to the United States in search of love: across dividing lines between cultures, between sexes, and between the particular desires of one man and the women he comes to love.
The young man is Kailash, from India. His new American friends call him Kalashnikov, AK-47, AK. He takes it all in his stride: he wants to fit in--and more than that, to shine. In the narrative of his years at a university in New York, AK describes the joys and disappointments of his immigrant experience; the unfamiliar political and social textures of campus life; the indelible influence of a charismatic professor--also an immigrant, his personal history as dramatic as AK's is decidedly not; the very different natures of the women he loved, and of himself in and out of love with each of them. Telling his own story, AK is both meditative and the embodiment of the enthusiasm of youth in all its idealism and chaotic desires. His wry, vivid perception of the world he's making his own, and the brilliant melding of story and reportage, anecdote and annotation, picture and text, give us a singularly engaging, insightful, and moving novel--one that explores the varieties and vagaries of cultural misunderstanding, but is, as well, an impassioned investigation of love.
About the Author
AMITAVA KUMAR is a writer and journalist. He was born in Ara, and grew up in the nearby town of Patna, famous for its corruption, crushing poverty, and delicious mangoes. Kumar is the author of several books of nonfiction and a novel. He lives in Poughkeepsie, in upstate New York, where he is Helen D. Lockwood Professor of English at Vassar College. In 2016, Amitava Kumar was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (General Nonfiction) as well as a Ford Fellowship in Literature from United States Artists.
"Amitava Kumar's Immigrant, Montana is a beguiling meditation on memory and migration, sex and politics, ideas and art, and race and ambiguity. Part novel, part memoir, this book is as sly, charming, and deceptive as its passionate protagonist, a writer writing himself into being." —Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer
"There is a buoyant energy and hilarity to this account of an Indian student seeking the wide world through the women he meets, but one laughs with growing unease as a darker undercurrent is slowly revealed. An unusual, brave twist on the migrant's tale." —Kiran Desai, author of the Man Booker Prize-winning The Inheritance of Loss
"Amitava Kumar's Immigrant, Montana is romantic, natural, gorgeously detailed, and painfully truthful about exile, grad school, sex, and the South Asian man. Few novels have captured the mental texture of immigrantion so accurately." —Karan Mahajan, author of The Association of Small Bombs
"Immigrant, Montana is a delight." —Hanif Kureishi, author of Intimacy
"Apparently, Amitava Kumar once considered calling this book The Man Without a Country, which is indeed what it’s about—the eros of crossing and crisscrossing borders, the necessity of jumping boundaries, the excitement of refusing to place people and books in categories. An urgent, galvanizing work." —David Shields, author of Reality Hunger and Other People
"Audacious in its scope yet with refreshing attention to detail, Immigrant, Montana is one of those novels that, with each rereading, a reader will unlock another treasure box of joy." —Yiyun Li, author of Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life
"This is a deeply American novel, one that delves into the messiness of love (and sex!), and the meeting point between identity, character, place, and the constant cultural stuff floating around. . . . Kumar's novel is uproariously funny and deeply moving." —David Means, author of Hystopia
“Entertaining . . . with considerable wit to boot . . . We should all accomplish so much.” —Jabari Asim, The New York Times Book Review
“Bold and provocative . . . [and a] cerebral undercurrent . . . This novel fearlessly unmasks some great men, making political stalwarts and revolutionaries stumble down from their pedestals.” —Meena Kandasamy, The Guardian
“If Portnoy was an Indian immigrant writer . . . The book is as cerebral as it is sensual, and as slippery in nature as it is insightful. . . . Immigrant, Montana is intelligent, melancholy, quirky.” —Michael Upchurch, Boston Globe
“Refreshing . . . The book contains India and America, nostalgia and humor. Ambitious artistic undertakings like Kumar’s are how the literarure of exile secures its palce in the new country, becoming not immigrant novels but free American novels.” —Sanjena Sathian, The Millions
“[A] remarkable novel . . . with surprising twists and turns . . . moving, more than a coming-of-age poetic story.” —Jane Kirkpatrick, New York Journal of Books
“This coming-of-age-in-the-city story is bolstered by the author’s captivating prose, which keeps it consistently surprising and hilarious. . . . An inventive delight, perfectly pitched to omnivorous readers.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Cosmopolitan readers interested in multicultural literary fiction—á la Kiran Desai, Ha Jin, and Hanif Kureishi—will find affinity in this modern Bildungsroman of an erudite global citizen.” —Terry Hong, Library Journal
“Whip-smart.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Arresting.” —Poornima Apte, Booklist
“Kumar [is] a keen observer of the contemporary American immigrant experience. . . . A droll and inventive tale for the intellectually omnivorous.” —Brian K. Mahoney, The Chronogram