His many books include the non-fiction titles The Inner World (now in its 16th printing since its first publication in 1978), Shamans, Mystics and Doctors, The Analyst and the Mystic, Culture and Psyche, The Colors of Violence, and Mad and Divine: Spirit and Psyche in the Modern World, as well as the novels The Ascetic of Desire, Ecstasy, and Mira and the Mahatma.
Recently, I asked him what he was reading. His response:
1. The World Is What It Is by Patrick French.Read about Sudhir Kakar's five favorite books about India.
This biography is a masterpiece. In a sense, it is that elusive, perfect autobiography that Naipaul could have never written himself—as, indeed, no autobiographer can.
2. Atomised by Michel Houellebecq.
Winner of the IMPAC Dublin Award, the most prestigious prize in international literary fiction, this is a fascinating novel of ideas that showcases the author’s abhorrence of the lifestyles and the underlying values of the modern world. It is spiced with some of the filthiest sex scenes in contemporary literature that, however, evoke disgust more than prurience.
3. The Life of Masud Khan by Linda Hopkins.
The fascinating biography of a Pakistani analyst living in London who was one of the brightest stars on the firmament of international psychoanalysis in the 1960’s and 1970’s. It is the story of a highly creative but deeply flawed human being who could neither exorcise his own ghosts nor resolve the demands of two contradictory cultures in which he lived his life. One can only admire the author who can give patient understanding and tragic dimension to a man who was ‘a snob, a liar, a drunk, a philanderer, a violent bully, a poseur and a menace to the vulnerable.’
Visit Sudhir Kakar's website.