Author Archives: Diksha Basu

HITTING SHELVES #47: The Windfall by Diksha Basu

The Windfall by Diksha Basu comes out today! It’s a hilarious and wise debut novel about a family discovering the precariousness of social status and what it means to “make it” in modern India. You’ll love it. We asked the author how she’s celebrating her book’s release.

I have an eight-week old baby and did you know that an adult brain requires five hours of uninterrupted sleep in order to function but newborns need to feed every three hours? Why is evolution failing us? When I found out I was going to have a baby exactly two months before my book hit shelves, my husband and I said we had either timed it all really well or really badly. I’m happy to report it turns out we timed it all pretty well. Having essentially two babies out in the world helps keep all my anxiety in check because I’m always distracted and exhausted.

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Straight Man by Richard Russo


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Guy in Your MFA may be all the rage on Twitter these days but he first made an appearance in Straight Man, the 1997 novel by Richard Russo. The book is the story of William Henry Devereaux, Jr.—Hank, for short—a professor in the English Department at the Railton Campus of West Central Pennsylvania University. In Hank’s workshop, his student Leo is unshakably confident despite his mediocre writing skills. Like Guy in Your MFA, he thinks that he and Hank are “after a fashion, team-teaching the course.”

From the author interviews Leo devours, he has learned that the worst thing that can happen to a talented young writer is to be given too much praise, so Leo is grateful to me for protecting him. I don’t know whether he’s grateful to the other students in the workshop, who have been even more determined than their instructor not to ruin him with too much praise. Or any praise.

This novel is like a masterclass in itself. Other peripheral characters, much like Leo, are given such concrete characteristics that it remains easy to keep track of all of them as the English Department, which Hank chairs, faces the threat of impending budget and faculty cuts. Right at the start of the book, we meet Teddy, one of Hank’s colleagues. Continue reading

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