Amitava Kumar is a novelist, poet, journalist, filmmaker, and Helen D. Lockwood Professor of English at Vassar College. He is the author of A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb and Nobody Does the Right Thing: A Novel. His new book, A Matter of Rats: A Short Biography of Patna, is an entertaining account of his hometown.
Kumar's ruminations on one of the world's oldest cities, the capital of India's poorest province, are also a meditation on how to write about place. His memory is partial. All he has going for him is his attentiveness. He carefully observes everything that surrounds him in Patna: rats and poets, artists and politicians, a girl's picture in a historian's study, and a sheet of paper on his mother's desk.
Manil Suri's new novel, The City of Devi, opens with India and Pakistan on the verge of nuclear war. India is roiled by factional violence between Hindus and Muslims. Bombers strafe citizens, vigilantes settle scores, and terrorists set off dirty bombs around the country as Mumbai boils over with fear and fury. But, at its heart, it is a love story.
India reacted angrily today at what it called the "inhumane treatment" of one of two soldiers killed Tuesday in a skirmish along the de facto border with Pakistan.
Pakistan challenged the Indian army's allegations and said it is prepared to hold an investigation through the United Nations Military Observers Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) into recent ceasefire violations along what is known as the Line of Control (LOC).