October 29, 2010

"Immortals" author speaks on music, family, class

Critically acclaimed novelist Amit Chaudhuri spoke at length about the role of music, family, and class in his most recent novel at a talk on Monday in Classics 110.

Chaudhuri read portions of his novel, The Immortals, which was one of The New Yorker’s Books of the Year in 2009.

“In this book, the lives of two families come together through music, which sounds cheesy. But, their lives converge in an increasingly corporate and wealthy world,” said Chaudhuri, a professor of contemporary literature at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England.

The novel, set in Bombay in the 1980s, follows the lives, interactions, and tensions between the members of a wealthy family and their music instructor.

“There is a misunderstanding running through the novel between the young man and the artist. It is the tension of an artist teaching the affluent,” Chaudhuri said.

Rochona Majumdar, the University of Chicago’s Professor of South Asian Literature and Cultures, facilitated the discussion and introduced the author, describing Chaudhuri’s works as literary journeys of rich language.

Chaudhuri noted that due to the length of The Immortals, the novel stands apart from his past works.

“This is my most novelistic novel,” Chaudhuri said. “For a long time, my longest book was under 50,000 words, while in the UK, works under 90,000 words are classified as novellas.”

The lecture was part of the Nicholson Center for British Studies lecture series in the creative arts and was co-sponsored by the Committee on Creative Writing.