In those terrible days of the lockdown during the pandemic, we were all waiting. We were waiting for things to be all right. And one day, they will indeed be all right. But the dead will never come back. The businesses that have closed and will not reopen; the dreams dashed; the families and relationships that could not withstand the strain. This is why it is important to note down all the changes in our lives. Write them down in a journal. When we do that, we are recording our own history. These were resources that Amitava Kumar had been using even before the pandemic arrived. But the task gained urgency just when he felt most isolated and afraid. The Blue Book is a writer's artistic response to our present world: one that has bestowed upon us countless deaths from a virus, a flood of fake news, but also love in the face of loss, travels through diverse landscapes, and - if we care to notice - visions of blazing beauty. To mull over a beautiful line while looking upon a beautiful painting is the sublime pleasure offered by Amitava Kumar's The Blue Book. This painted diary is a collage of the personal and the political, of terrifying news, the fleeting seasons, everyday pleasures, precious conversations, families and friendships-and on every page, the solace of art.' -- KIRAN DESAI.
Amitava Kumar is the author of several books of non-fiction and three novels. His work has appeared in Granta, the New York Times, Harper's, and several other publications. He has been awarded a Guggenheim fellowship and residencies from Yaddo, MacDowell and the Lannan Foundation. His novel Immigrant, Montana was on the Best of the Year lists at the New Yorker, the New York Times, and Barack Obama's list of favourite books of 2018. His new novel A Time Outside This Time has been described by Pulitzer-winner Ayad Akhtar as an absorbing portrait of an inspired artist in the midst of our maddening cultural moment'. Kumar is professor of English at Vassar College in upstate New York.