“The story of how I came to find and read Anuradha Roy’s beautiful novel, An Atlas of Impossible Longing, is not as long as the distance I went to find it. In Delhi en route to a literature festival in Jaipur this past January, I stumbled totally by chance into a reception honoring British publisher Christopher MacLehose. His hosts, Rukun Advani and Anuradha Roy, run a terrific independent academic press, Permanent Black. Talking about the role of academic publishers in India, then how a clearly significant press composed of two people, doing everything, managed to function: that was my introduction to Anuradha Roy.
I shortly learned— not terribly directly —that she had written a novel, one published in India and numerous other countries. Notes were made, and when I was in Faqir Chand and Sons’ legendary bookshop the next day, a Picador India edition of An Atlas of Impossible Longing was miraculously (to my eye) produced from the shelves of the most unfathomably organized bookshop I think I’ve ever seen.
It’s also one of the most assured novels I’ve read in some time, never mind that it’s a debut. Every character, every setting, shift of scene, situation—rings true.