“Heterogeneous and complex, this book offers insight into Indian culture from a multitude of complex spaces between East and West. An exuberantly inquisitive collection of essays.” — Kirkus Reviews
“[Kumar’s] rhythms and insights beguile, and the trip itself is as rich as the destination. The reader returns with a broader sense of power, religion, oppression, familial love, censorship, and the power of the written word, to name but a few.” — Robert Burke Warren, Chronogram
“Kumar is an artful, frank and clean-cut writer, with a compassionate curious mind and a dry sense of humor. He includes his personal responses in his journalism and maintains his questioning skepticism even in his most emotional essays.” — Sara Catterall, Shelf Awareness
“A dexterous and entertaining book that mixes personal essay, reportage, and criticism, Lunch With a Bigot never loses sight of its subtitle: each piece, in its own way, is about the writing life, whether it deals with paper as an object of the sacred and profane, the immigrant writer’s experience of ‘being brown in America,’ or the temporal dislocation of returning home.” — Jonathon Sturgeon, Flavorwire
"Taken together, these essays written over the last 15 years of cataclysmic wars, fanaticisms, environmental disasters, and turbo-capitalism, tell the story of what has really been happening while those of us in the West have looked the other way. As the media caters to our fascination with Donald Trump’s hairstyle and his vitriolic one-liners, Syrian refugees have had to find refuge in Dachau. To see how one narrative has obfuscated the other ought to enrage us, and asks us to examine what is absent from our daily conversations. Kumar provokes us with his vulnerability, his observations of our shared flaws, and his impassioned interest in a world he hopes to make more livable. He reminds us what the writer — the writer as rioter — can do. And he reminds us that to be alive demands that we search for new forms of intimacy all the time, in order, as Adrienne Rich insisted, 'to extend the possibilities of truth between us.'" — Leah Mirakhor, Los Angeles Review of Books
"Lunch with a Bigot is, at its core, a collection of writing that delivers Kumar’s memoir. The ambling essays wander but never strand readers, and together they form something largely autobibliographic—that is to say, a deep, lengthy telling of the author’s reading (and viewing) life. ... Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above." — E. McCourt, Choice
"While Kumar’s well-trained eye roves from subject to subject with intellectual rigor and academic insight, he is able to coalesce these disparate parts into a cohesive whole with his inevitable return to his love of literature.... Kumar proves to be an astute cultural and literary critic, adept at surveying the world around him at all angles—making Lunch with a Bigot an engaging and memorable collection." — Alex Brubaker, Rain Taxi
"These are the very best sort of essays: the kind in which the pleasure of reading derives from the pleasure of following a writer's mind as it moves from subject to subject, making us see connections we might otherwise have been unaware of. Often a single paragraph contains such a story or detail so arresting that the reader must pause to appreciate it before moving on." — Francine Prose, author of Reading Like a Writer
“Stimulating, wide-ranging, learned and funny—exactly what one wants from a book of essays."
— Geoff Dyer, author of But Beautiful: A Book about Jazz
"Amitava Kumar is a sensitive, probing, erudite writer, always ready to question others and himself. It turns out his ceaseless curiosity and skepticism is the best way to write about India in all its complexity and heterogeneity—his is a fascinating mind turned towards a crucial subject." — Edmund White, author of Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris
"The interconnected world may be a cliche, but we don’t often see its real connections. Amitava Kumar illuminates many of them here with his signature mix of unappeasable curiosity, cool skepticism, and shrewd intelligence."
— Pankaj Mishra, author of From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt against the West and the Remaking of Asia