A Bad Character by Deepti Kapoor comes out today!
It’s the story of a young woman who falls for a dangerously attractive older man. Which may sound familiar, but A Bad Character like nothing you’ve ever read before. It takes place in New Delhi, where new money and old traditions have a powerful effect on the smallest details of everyday life. And Kapoor writes in a style unlike any other Indian novelist that we know of — taut, gritty, personal, from the gut.
Here’s the first paragraph:
My boyfriend died when I was twenty-one. His body was left lying broken on the highway outside of Delhi while the sun rose in the desert to the east. I wasn’t there, I never saw it. But plenty of others saw, in the trucks that passed by without stopping and from the roadside dhaba where he’d been drinking all night.
You’re going to love this book.
We asked the author one question.
Fiction Advocate: How are you celebrating the U.S. publication of A Bad Character?
Deepti Kapoor: The day of my publication I’ll be travelling to the Jaipur Literary Festival from my home in Goa, which means most of the day will be in transit (Goa-Mumbai-Jaipur), in taxis and planes and taxis again, where I’ll be moving between total annoyance (queue jumpers, bad drivers, obnoxious travelers [a category in which I include myself], screaming infants, unhelpful officials) grudging acceptance (see above – but with earphones in and shades on) and blessed relief when things do go right and people actually aren’t that bad.
My ideal publication day would be doing nothing at all for a long time, having coffee, heading off to a deserted beach over the border in Maharashtra, eating some fried fish, going for a swim. But I’ll be happy to meet friends in Jaipur, eat kachoris from the street carts, drink some whisky to keep the cold at bay in the evening.
This is the third publication day too; I’ve already done India and England for this novel. So there’s a little bit of a been there, done that feeling. I was extremely nervous for the Indian release, I had no idea what to expect, it was my first novel, I was coming out into the world, to my family too. It’s not exactly a family-friendly novel, but they surprised me. Then the English release, negotiating different cultural expectations and interests while being a very small fish in that pond. And now the US. I have a good feeling about the US. It helps that I have no expectations now, and am mentally on the next book, and other work already, but I also feel an affinity for the US in terms of literature, film, music, culture, more so than anywhere else perhaps. I have so many US influences, and I suspect my style will fit and speak to readers there. So I’ll be travelling, muttering, shaking my head, taking a long hot bath in the hotel room, drinking whisky in the evening (hopefully with my festival friend Mira Jacob – she said she’ll be bringing some good stuff), and laughing a lot by the end of it.
Get the book here.