Immigrant, Montana: A novel

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Khailash is a young man reflecting on his formative years in Immigrant, Montana, the latest novel from Guggenheim Fellowship recipient Amitava Kumar. By Kumar’s own admission, the novel is both fiction and nonfiction. Khailash is, then, a cypher for Kumar himself, a character through which readers can know the author while knowing, in small ways, themselves.

The seven sections of the book unveil the academic progression of Khaliash in America after leaving his native India. In each section, he finds himself orbiting a different woman, though Jennifer, Nina, and Cai Yan hold his focus for longest. He is unable to conduct a real or mature relationship with any of these women, though his sexcapades with them are detailed far beyond necessity, it his other love—academia and his mentor relationship with guru/professor Ehssan—to which Kumar most attends.

For those who have experienced alienation in a foreign country, or within the depths of academic study, or for those who have felt at sea when trying to navigate adulthood—specifically romantic relationships—this book is a solid read. There were moments, however, where I found myself uninterested in the research Khailash is conducting or another incident of selfishness, callousness, or dismissiveness with women. Ultimately, the book is for those interested in reading about a man without a country which, incidentally, was an early title for the novel.

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Author Amitava Kumar
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 320 pages
Publisher Knopf
Publish Date 2018-Jul-31
ISBN 9780525520757
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue December 2018
Category Modern Literature


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