Amitava Kumar presents "A Time Outside This Time," with Teju Cole

October 5, 2021, 7:30 PM

Amitava Kumar joins us to celebrate the release of his new novel A Time Outside This Time, in conversation with Teju Cole. This program will take place on Zoom. Register here:

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A blistering novel about fake news, memory, and the ways in which truth gives over to fiction

When Satya, a professor and author, attends a prestigious artists' retreat to write, he finds the pressures of the outside world won’t let up: the president rages online; a dangerous virus envelops the globe; and the twenty-four-hour news cycle throws fuel on every fire. For most of the retreat fellows, such stories are unbearable distractions, but for Satya, who sees them play out in both America and his native India, these Orwellian interruptions begin to crystallize into an idea for his new novel, Enemies of the People, about the lies we tell ourselves and one another. Satya scours his life for instances in which truth bends toward the imagined and misinformation is mistaken as fact.

Mixing Satya’s experiences—as a father, husband, and American immigrant—with newspaper clippings, the president’s tweets, and observations on famous works of art, A Time Outside This Time captures a feverish political moment with intelligence, beauty, and an eye for the uncanny. It is a brilliant interrogation on life in a post-truth era and an attempt to imagine a time outside this one.

Amitava Kumar is a writer and journalist. He was born in Ara, India, and grew up in the nearby town of Patna, famous for its corruption, crushing poverty, and delicious mangoes. Kumar is the author of the novel Immigrant, Montana, as well as several other books of nonfiction and fiction. He lives in Poughkeepsie, New York, where he is Professor of English on the Helen D. Lockwood Chair at Vassar College.

Teju Cole is a novelist, photographer, and critic, and the author of seven books, among them Open CityBlind Spot, and Golden Apple of the Sun. He was the photography critic of the New York Times Magazine from 2015 until 2019, and is currently Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing at Harvard. (Photo credit: Maggie Janik)