hari kunzru

Reading Recently: The Impressionist, by Hari Kunzru

I took this big block of a novel, the author’s 2002 debut, along with me on a recent work trip and managed to plow through all 400+ pages in a couple of days. It’s not something I’m proud of, but I tend to favor short novels, and have a hard time digging into really extended, Dickensian tales, so I try to “force” myself to engage with long books while traveling. 

Traveling for work is still work, but there’s something to be said for early morning coffee and reading in the fluffy cocoon of a hotel bed. 

Eight for Eight tag meme

Rules: Answer eight questions and tag eight people.

I was tagged by the wonderful @redrose-comes-a-marching who is absolutely lovely

Last movie I watched: Uuuhhhh … like at the movies? In general? … uhm wow it was so long ago I can’t remember [when will my free time return from the war?]

Last song I listened to: Yodel It! from Eurovision because it’s an absolute banger

Last book I read: The Impressionist by Hari Kunzru (I am still shook tbh)

Last thing I ate: Ice cream for dinner!

Where would you want to time travel to?: I’d love to listen to Marcel Mauss give a lecture tbh

Fictional character I would hang out with for a day: Dorothy Wellwood from ‘The Children’s Book’ because I could learn a lot from her 

If I could be anywhere right now, where would I be?: London probably 

Current fandom obsession?: I came super late to the Doctor Foster party but hooo booyyy do I have social commentary to make about that 

I tag @pudentilla @owl-by-night @nevils-crest @cheesybadgers @nasturtian if you wanna <3 

For those of us whose identity (sexual, racial, national or otherwise) is involuntarily ambiguous, who have to make the best of our inauthenticity, David Bowie has been a kind of secular saint. As I began to understand that the alien figure in the phonebox was only one in a series of mutations that would continue until yesterday, with the terrible news of his death, it dawned on me that Bowie’s slipperiness was a riposte to the kind of hostile questions that dog the inauthentic, that dogged me as a teenager, that still, come to think of it, dog me today. Questions meant to fix and crush. What are you? Where are you from? Bowie taught me that when they demanded your identity papers, you didn’t have to comply. Or if you wanted, you could invent your own papers, tell whatever damn story you pleased. His bravery and breadth will not be seen again in the world. Nor his exalted sensibility or his beauty or his voice. We will miss him.
— 

Hari Kunzru, here 

Zadie Smith speaks on stage at Across The Pond with Tessa Hadley, Hari Kunzru, Hanif Kureishi and Zadie Smith, moderated by Cressida Leyshon at the MasterCard stage at SVA Theatre during The New Yorker Festival 2014 on October 10, 2014

He takes pains with historical accuracy, writes beautifully constructed sentences…never settles for the carelessly selected phrase but almost unerringly gets the correct word for the situation…
— 

Annie Proulx, Financial Times review of Hari Kunzru’s Gods Without Men. 

RSVP for next Wednesday’s event, where Hari Kunzru will discuss his latest book with National Book Critics Circle Award nominee Teju Cole!

No one knew where he was. No one in the world. But then again, wasn’t that the point of coming out to the desert? You had to get lost to find yourself… Something bright and white raced across the sky. The stars were like pinholes in a cloth. You could believe you were seeing through to some incredibly bright world on the other side of the darkness.
—  Hari Kunzru - Gods without Men
The Paris Review Interviews Hari Kunzru
  • Paris Review: The first time I read about you, you were described as having “a nonspecifically exotic appearance” that marked you “as a potential native of about half the world’s nations.” How do you usually explain your origins?
  • Hari Kunzru: I was born in London. Depending on who I’m talking to, and how I feel, I might describe myself simply as a Londoner, British (that one’s only crept in since I came to live in New York—to anyone in the UK, it’s weirdly meaningless), English, the son of an Indian father and an English mother, Kashmiri Pandit, rootless cosmopolitan . . .
  • Paris Review: I read someone like Zadie Smith and am struck by how skilled she is with voices. And this talent is so readily visible in GODS WITHOUT MEN, too. Not to be a sociological determinist, but is there something about this generation of writers that makes you particularly adept at doing this kind of tongue tripping?
  • Hari Kunzru: Yes. I’d agree with that—doing voices, performing selves. It’s an important skill, when you’re thrown into a situation where ideas about race and culture are highly charged, and you don’t have a simple answer for people when they ask where you’re from.
Heidi Julavits and Hari Kunzru
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There’s nothing better than going to readings of authors whose prose you admire and finding out that they’re even smarter, cooler, and funnier than their writing suggests. (Something I wish would happen more often in the online dating world…but I digress.) At WORD on Wednesday night, I found this to be true for both authors celebrating their books’ paperback release: Heidi Julavits (The Vanishers/co-editor of The Believer) and Hari Zunzru (Gods Without Men/essayist/social media extraordinaire).

Keep reading

In the time when the animals were men

In the time when the animals were men, Coyote was living in a certain place. “Haikya! I have gotten so tired of living here-aikya. I am going to go out into the desert to cook.” With this, Coyote took an RV and drove into the desert to set up a lab. He took along ten loaves of Wonder bread and fifty packets of ramen noodles. He took whiskey and enough pot to keep him going.  He searched for a long time and found a good place. “Here, I will set up-aikya! There is so much room! There is no one to bother me here!”

     Coyote set to work. “Oh,” he said, “haikya! I have so many tablets of pseudoephedrine! It took me so long to get! I have been driving around to those pharmacies for so long-aikya!” He crushed the pseudo until it was a fine powder. He filled a beaker with wood spirit and swirled around the powder. He poured the mixture through filter papers to get rid of the filler. Then he set it on the warmer to evaporate. But Coyote forgot to check his thermometer and the temperature rose. It got hotter and hotter. “Haikya!” he said, “I need a cigarette-aikya! I’ve done such a lot of hard work-aikya!”

     He lit a cigarette. There was an explosion. He died.

     Cottontail Rabbit came past and touched him on the head with his staff. Coyote sat up and rubbed his eyes. “Honored Coyote!” said Cottontail Rabbit. “Close the door of the RV. Keep it closed. Do your smoking outside.”

     Coyote began to whine. “Ouch-aikya! Where are my hands-aikya? My hands have blown off.” He whined and lay down and was sad for a long time. Then Coyote got up and made himself hands out of a cholla cactus.

     He began again.

-excerpt from Hari Kunzru’s Gods Without Men, 2011.

2

“Once there were great places called hospitals
The tradition of hospitals was revered across the land.
It meant helping customers, healing them and seeing to their needs.
Men and woman greeted each other by asking

‘How can I help you today?’

The doctors performed great feats of surgery
and roamed the cities, looking for the sick.

It was time of great wonder.”

'The text is accompanied by a sculpture of a 'mis-remembered’ ambulance by London-based illustrator collective Le Gun.' X

I loved this piece because of it’s detail and it’s portrayal of the health care system back in the day. It was the intricate detail that drew me to this piece to begin with, so much time and effort has been put into this and it shows.

However when you  see inside the cart, my first reaction was 'wow.’ The detail is insane and the different representations for the organs in the body is very clever. Cigarettes and tar for the lungs, a bottle of alcohol for the liver. It’s all very cleverly thought out and that’s what I found inspiring about this piece. 

The piece makes the health care system seem crazy and wrong. It implies they doctors are experimenting, 'it was a time of great wonder.’ Those words and the piece itself says to me that they didn’t know what they were doing. It was trial and error, and a place in time we never want to return.

(Picture Source X X) - The Memory Palace at the V&A 17.09.13