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The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian

The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian

by Nirad C. Chaudhuri, introduction by Ian Jack

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The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian is an astonishing work of self-discovery and the revelation of a peerless and provocative sensibility. Describing his childhood in the Bengali countryside and his youth in Calcutta—and telling the story of modern India from his own fiercely independent viewpoint—Chaudhuri fashions a book of deep conviction, charm, and intimacy that is also a masterpiece of the writer’s art. by Nirad C. Chaudhuri, introduction by Ian Jack

Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 9780940322820
Pages: 560
Publication Date:


Reading this book is to be immersed in India, you feel you are living that life, such is the power of this acute, stubbornly honest, capaciously minded writer to recreate his times.
— Doris Lessing

The autobiographer Nirad Chaudhuri has been, throughout his long life, an erudite, contrary and mischievous presence....That he has swum so strongly against the current has not, however, prevented The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian from being recognized as the masterpiece that it is.
— Salman Rushdie

No better account of the penetration of the Indian mind by the West—and by extension, of the penetration of one culture by another—will be or now can be written.
— V. S. Naipaul

But Chaudhuri's memoirs were more than a series of reminiscences—in detailed characterisation of the ethos of a whole age and in its dissection of the process of formation of a nation's identity, it transcended the genre of the autobiography.
— Sukumar Muralidharan, Frontline

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