Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Annapurna Potluri

Annapurna Potluri was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and moved to New York to attend New York University where she studied comparative literature and linguistics and went on to earn an MPhil in theoretical linguistics from Cambridge University. She has lived in Italy and India and is currently working at the South Asia Institute at Columbia University.

Her debut novel is The Grammarian.

Not so long ago I asked the author about what she was reading. Potluri's reply:
I just yesterday finished reading David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. It is sort of six smaller books collapsed into one great tome, the sum of which is far greater than its constituent parts. It requires you to buy into the concept of reincarnation, at least for the time you are between its covers.

If for nothing else, Mitchell should be given a standing ovation from anyone who has ever tried to write something, because his writing is so bloody fearless. He’s a white British guy who takes on the voices of a Hispanic woman, of a native New Zealander slave, and on and on. That he pulls it off seamlessly and authentically is incredible. That he had the guts to attempt it at all is a triumph.

Mitchell touches on many things, among them the sort of genetic legacy of art, as a means more important than any other, by which humans connect with each other. There are themes of utopianism, of the questions that surround ideas of progress and evolution, he raises questions about the ethics of passivism and salvation.

The writing style varies so much it is hard to comment on that. The Robert Frobisher sections were my favorite: they are beautiful and funny and tragic. Reading Mitchell’s writing is like watching a magician—except one who sometimes pulls a rabbit out of a hat, and then the next time pulls an elephant out of it.
Visit Annapurna Potluri's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Grammarian.

The Page 69 Test: The Grammarian.

--Marshal Zeringue