Monday, April 21, 2014

"I don't want to be called an immigrant novelist" -Akhil Sharma

Akhil Sharma (who visits tomorrow) in a Salon interview this past Sunday:

You’ve said that you want this book to be “useful.” Useful how?
Because the subject matter of this book is so important to me – illness, children in difficulty, the Indian immigrant community – I care a great deal about being able to provide comfort to people who are in a similar situation to the one that I and my family were in.

That seems like a very old-fashioned way to think about a novel.
It is, this idea that we can read books for guidance, or to not be alone. It is how I read books growing up and it is, to some extent, how I still read books. I think that books are fundamentally educational. For example, books teach us to practice loving. We read about imaginary characters and we learn to sympathize with strangers. This is an amazing thing.