How to pronounce Hari Kunzru: HAR-ee KUNE-zroo
Hari Kunzru is the author of the novels The Impressionist (2002), Transmission (2004), My Revolutions (2007) and Gods Without Men (2011) as well as the novella Memory Palace (2013) and a short story collection, Noise (2006). His work has been translated into twenty-one languages and won him prizes including the Somerset Maugham award, the Betty Trask prize of the Society of Authors and a British Book Award. In 2003 Granta named him one of its twenty best young British novelists. Lire magazine named him one of its 50 "écrivains pour demain". He is a past Deputy President of English PEN, a patron of the Refugee Council and a member of the editorial board of Mute magazine. His short stories and journalism have appeared in diverse publications including The New York Times, Guardian, New Yorker, Washington Post, Times of India, Wired and New Statesman. He lives in New York City.
Hari Kunzru's website
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Hari Kunzru on his first novel, The Impressionist
Described by The Observer as 'The most eagerly awaited British debut
of 2002,' Hari Kunzru's The Impressionist is an epic tale of adventure and
discovery. Here, we asked Hari about inspiration, identity and the cultural
legacy of the British Empire.
How would you describe the The Impressionist?
The Impressionist is a black comedy about race and identity. It goes from India to England to Paris to Africa following one character, Pran, who assumes a great deal of different identities and never quite fits into any of them.
Where did the idea for the book come from?
Part of the idea came from my own experience of being the child of an Indian father and an English mother. I've grown up in England and feel pretty English in my upbringing, but there's always been an aspect of my experience that hasn't quite fitted. I wanted to write something about a character like that, only I've reversed the polarities in a way. Pran is the child of an English father and an Indian mother and I've set the book at a time (the 1920s) - maybe the last time - when the Empire really mattered. It's at a crisis point in the story of the British Empire, which of course is kind of why I m here...
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