In Conversation: 'A Time Outside This Time' by Amitava Kumar

27-Nov-2021
6.00PM
Kitab Khana's Instagram

From the acclaimed author of 'The Lovers', a one-of-a-kind novel about fake news, memory, and truth gives way to fiction.

Satya is an Indian writer living in New York. When he attends a prestigious artist's retreat in Italy, Satya finds the pressures of the outside world won't let up: a dangerous virus envelopes the globe; Prime Minister Modi wants his citizens to bang plates and pots at 9 p.m.; President Trump continues spreading misinformation online; and the 24-hour news cycle throws fuel on the fire. For most fellows at the retreat, such stories are unbearable distractions; but, for Satya, these Orwellian interruptions begin to crystallize into an idea for his new novel, about the lies we tell ourselves and each other. Knitting together accounts of lynching, Trump's tweets, newspaper clippings, childhood memories from Patna, Satya's investigation into a killing near Kolkata, and his tales as a husband, father, and teacher, A Time Outside This Time is a brilliant meditation on life in a post-truth era. Balancing the public and private, the imagined and the real, Amitava Kumar ushers us across time and space in the name of art and humanity alike, capturing the chaos and dishonesty of the present with intelligence, beauty, and an eye for the uncanny. 

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The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep... -Robert Frost