Pran Nath Razdan, the boy who will become the Impressionist, was passed off by his Indian mother as the child of her husband, a wealthy man of a high caste. Pran lived a life of luxury just downriver from the Taj Mahal, but at fifteen, the news of Pran’s true parentage is revealed to his father and he is tossed out into the street—a pariah and an outcast. Thus begins an extraordinary, near mythical journey of a young man who must reinvent himself to survive—not once, but many times.
From Victorian India to Edwardian London, from an expatriate community of black Americans in Paris to a hopeless expedition to study a lost tribe of Africa, Hari Kunzru’s unforgettable debut novel dazzles with its artistry and wit while it challenges with its insights into what it means to be Indian or English, black or white, and every degree that lies between.
“Delectable, sweeping, empire-savaging, audaciously playful … Kunzru writes with wry certitude and cinematic precision” —New York Times
“A sprawling, ambitious, shape-shifting novel…Kunzru proves himself a clever, sharply observant writer.” —The Washington Post
”Nothing is as it seems in this serpentine Dickensian epic…Kunzru nicely limns the fickle roles race and class play in civilized societies.” —People magazine
“A witty, well-crafted comic saga of the dark side of the British Empire” —Financial Times“Glorious, hilarious. Kunzru has created a book in which we can feel at home in the strangeness of his gorgeous imagination” —Boston Sunday Herald
“Riveting stuff, beautifully written … Superb” —The Times (London)
“The Impressionist is both a great adventure yarn and an exploration of identity, both personal and national…One might be occasionally reminded of Salman Rushdie or Evelyn Waugh (Brideshead Revisited).” —Detroit Free Press
“Superb. Smart, entertaining and engaging on many levels” —Dallas Morning News
“Grand, sprawling, extravagant, lyrical. A work so vibrant and richly imagined that you can smell the incense” —Esquire
“Epic in scale and rich in historical detail, the narrative is deft and swift … carrying the reader along effortlessly. This first novel has startling depth, ambition and craftsmanship” —Time Out London
“A narrative with just the right blend of misadventure, humor, and humiliation…Call Kunzru amodern-day Kipling.” —GQ
“Maniacally inventive—a fantastic funhouse of a novel.” —Vogue
“The next literary lion.” —Independent on Sunday (UK)