Picasso said that painting is a way of keeping a diary. The Blue Book by Amitava Kumar is an example of such a diary. A diary, both in words and images, tells us that we can keep in sight the daily sublime. All we need to do is pay attention, with an equal eye, to everything around us. Beauty exists only if you notice it. Don’t let your life pass unnoticed.
About the Book:
Drawing as a way of keeping a diary. Writing down words in a diary is a way of maintaining a historical record. Watercolors and also words. These were the resources that the writer Amitava Kumar had been using even before the pandemic arrived. But the task gained urgency exactly when he felt most isolated and afraid.
The Blue Book is Amitava Kumar’s urgent artistic response to our present world—a world that bestows upon our love and loss, travel through diverse landscapes, deaths from a virus, a flood of fake news, and if we care to notice, visions of blazing beauty. From the acclaimed author of books like A Time Outside This Time and The Lovers, this writer’s journal is a panoramic portrait of the experience, both individual and collective, of the pandemic.
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Amitava Kumar says: ‘When I was a boy growing up in Bihar, I would see my grandmother place a single red hibiscus flower on a small pedestal for her gods. This was a daily morning ritual. I love rituals: they establish a pattern and give structure to our days. My paintings and my words are just such a ritual, a way of giving form and shape to our shared lives, my readers and mine.’
Udayan Mitra, Executive Publisher, says: ‘How does a writer respond to the world around us? How does the creative process take shape? Through a stunning array of words and images, Amitava Kumar’s The Blue Book gives us a fascinating insight into the ways in which an author’s mind reacts and responds to the world around us.
Amitava’s paintings are as lovely as the thoughts accompanying them are arresting: together, they make for a memorable journal of the troubled times we’ve come through. This is a book that any book lover will want to pick up and read more than once.’
About the Author:
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 favorite books of 2018.
His new novel A Time Outside This Time was described by Pulitzer-winner Ayad Akhtar as ‘an absorbing portrait of an inspired artist in the midst of our maddening cultural moment’. Kumar is a professor of English at Vassar College in upstate New York.
About HarperCollins Publishers:
HarperCollins Publishers India is a subsidiary of HarperCollins Publishers. HarperCollins India publishes some of the finest writers from the Indian Subcontinent and around the world, publishing approximately 200 new books every year, with a print and digital catalog of more than 2,000 titles across 10 imprints.
Its authors have won almost every major literary award including the Man Booker Prize, JCB Prize, DSC Prize, New India Foundation Award, Atta Galatta Prize, Shakti Bhatt Prize, Gourmand Cookbook Award, Publishing Next Award, Tata Literature Live Award, Gaja Capital Business Book Prize, BICW Award, Sushila Devi Award, Prabha Khaitan Woman’s Voice Award, Sahitya Akademi Award and the Crossword Book Award. HarperCollins India has been awarded the Publisher of the Year Award four times: at Publishing Next in 2015, and at Tata Literature Live! in 2016, 2018, and 2021.
HarperCollins India also represents some of the finest publishers in the world including Egmont, Oneworld, Harvard University Press, Bonnier Zaffre, Usborne, Dover, and Lonely Planet.
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