That's the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.
Pet names are a persistant remnant of childhood, a reminder that life is not always so serious, so formal, so complicated. They are a reminder, too, that one is not all things to all people.
Pack a pillow and blanket and see as much of the world as you can.You will not regret it.
There were times Ruma felt closer to her mother in death than she had in life, an intimacy born simply of thinking of her so often, of missing her. But she knew that this was an illusion, a mirage, and that the distance between them was now infinite, unyielding.
The knowledge of death seemed present in both sisters—it was something about the way they carried themselves, something that had broken too soon and had not mended, marking them in spite of their lightheartedness.
Imperfection inspires invention, imagination, creativity. It stimulates. The more I feel imperfect, the more I feel alive.
Writing has certain advantages; film is another way to tell a story. An experienced filmmaker will take what she needs from the book and leave out other things. With adaptations, you never get the texture of the writing: it's a different mode.
At 6:30, which was when the national news began, my father raised the volume and adjusted the antennas. Usually I occupied myself with a book, but that night my father insisted that I pay attention.
The most compelling narrative, expressed in sentences with which I have no chemical reaction, or an adverse one, leaves me cold.
From the beginnings of literature, poets and writers have based their narratives on crossing borders, on wandering, on exile, on encounters beyond the familiar. The stranger is an archetype in epic poetry, in novels. The tension between alienation and assimilation has always been a basic theme.
I feel partly American, but I have an ambiguous relation with both America and India, the only two countries I really know. I never feel fully one way or the other.
With 'Interpreter,' I didn't know it was ever going to be a book, that they were going to be published. I was writing them in a vacuum for the most part. They were my apprentice work. Then the stories happened to become a book.
This story is based on a gentleman who indeed did... used to come to my parents' house in 1971 from Bangladesh. He was at the University of Rhode Island. And I was four, four years old, at the time, and so I actually don't have any memories of this gentleman.
It didn't matter that I wore clothes from Sears; I was still different. I looked different. My name was different. I wanted to pull away from the things that marked my parents as being different.
I speak English. I grew up speaking Bengali. This is the normal, the known, the obvious composition of who I am. Then there's Italian, this strange, other component of me that I've just created. It was a creative process just to learn the language, never mind to start expressing myself in it.
I don't know Bengali perfectly. I don't know how to write it or even read it. I have an accent, I speak without authority, and so I've always perceived a disjunction between it and me. As a result, I consider my mother tongue, paradoxically, a foreign language.
My parents came from Calcutta. They arrived in Cambridge, much like the parents in my novel. And I found myself sort of caught between the world of my parents and the world they had left behind and still clung to, and also the world that surrounded me at school and everywhere else, as soon as I set foot out the door.
I always wanted to grow up in a house full of books, English books, and I wanted the sort of fireplaces that worked, overstuffed chairs, that whole kind of fantasy of a bookish New England life. So the library gave me that; for the hours that I was there, I was surrounded by that atmosphere that I craved in my life.
I love stories. But I don't distinguish so much between a short story and a novel. Personally, when I sit down to read a novel or a Chekhov story, I'm seeking the same thing: I'm seeking that same rich portrayal of life in words.
I've gained a lot from James Joyce, Tolstoy, Chekhov and R. K. Narayan. While writing, I try to see if the story is going to radiate spokes. Their literature has always done that and gifted me beautiful things.