Hari Kunzru

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Writer & journalist, Hari Kunzru is our guest this week, talking about his new novel, WHITE TEARS (Alfred A. Knopf, March 14, 2017).

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Hari Kunzru is a British Indian novelist and journalist, author of the novels The Impressionist (2002), Transmission (2004), My Revolutions (2007) and Gods Without Men (2011), as well as a short story collection, Noise (2006). His latest novel is WHITE TEARS (Alfred A. Knopf, March 14, 2017).

Hari’s work has been translated into twenty-one languages, and his short stories and journalism have appeared in publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, and The New Yorker, Financial Times, Times of India, Wired and New Statesman. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, The New York Public Library, and the American Academy in Berlin. He is Deputy President of English PEN.

Hari was educated at the University of Oxford, University of Warwick, Wadham College, Oxford. His wife is the novelist Katie Kitamura. They live in Brooklyn, New York with their children.

Praise for WHITE TEARS:

“Kunzru has done his homework on racial history and white privilege, but the novel is also lifted on his sharp descriptions of music, which he makes so concrete and delectable you understand why his misguided, ill-fated heroes fall so hard for it. A well-turned and innovative tale that cannily connects old-time blues and modern-day minstrelsy.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

White Tears is distinguished by a knowledge of blues at its deepest, a gift for observation at its most penetrating and stretches of plain old marvelous writing, some swallowing up the pages around them the way a single song . . . swallows up the side of an album. . . . Kunzru brings a canny and original insight to his American subject. . . . [His] awareness and discernment have particular value in an America of the moment where nothing less than the country’s meaning is at stake.”—Steve Erickson, The New York Times Book Review  White Tears is a book that everyone should be reading right now. . . . The reverberations of [this book] echo long after it’s done. Part ghost story, part travelogue, White Tears is a drugged-out, spoiled-rotten treatise on race, class and poverty of the soul.”—Claire Howorth, TIME   “[White Tears is] a novel that’s as brave as it is brutal, and it lets nothing and nobody off the hook. . . . Stunning [and] audacious . . . an urgent novel that’s as challenging as it is terrifying. . . . completely impossible to put down . . . [Kunzru’s] writing is propulsive, clear and bright, whether he’s describing an old blues song or a shocking act of violence. . . . [White Tears] will shock you, horrify you, unsettle you, and that’s exactly the point.”—Michael Schaub, NPR   “[A] truly impressive novel. . . . White Tears is Kunzru’s best book yet.”—Anthony Domestico, The Boston Globe   “Captivating. . . . Kunzru’s graceful writing is exquisitely attuned to his material. . . . [White Tears is] neither a clever Time and Again story of time travel nor a tricky Westworld sort of past-present parallel. White Tears is a profoundly darker and more complex story of a haunting that elucidates the iniquitous history of white appropriation of black culture.”—Katharine Weber, The Washington Post

About WHITE TEARS  (Alfred A. Knopf, March 14, 2017)

From one of the most talented fiction writers at work today: two ambitious young musicians are drawn into the dark underworld of blues record collecting, haunted by the ghosts of a repressive past.

Two twenty-something New Yorkers. Seth is awkward and shy. Carter is the glamorous heir to one of America’s great fortunes. They have one thing in common: an obsession with music. Seth is desperate to reach for the future. Carter is slipping back into the past. When Seth accidentally records an unknown singer in a park, Carter sends it out over the Internet, claiming it’s a long lost 1920s blues recording by a musician called Charlie Shaw. When an old collector contacts them to say that their fake record and their fake bluesman are actually real, the two young white men, accompanied by Carter’s troubled sister Leonie, spiral down into the heart of the nation’s darkness, encountering a suppressed history of greed, envy, revenge, and exploitation. White Tears is a ghost story, a terrifying murder mystery, a timely meditation on race, and a love letter to all the forgotten geniuses of American music. –Penguin Random House

You can keep up with Hari Kunzru on Twitter at @HariKunzru.