Book Launch

The Nowhere Man
Kamala Markandaya
At Nehru centre London
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Srinivas, an elderly Brahmin, has been living in south London suburb for thirty years. After the death of his son, and later his wife, this lonely man is befriended by an Englishwoman in her sixties, whom he takes into his home. The two form a deep and abiding relationship. But the haven they have created for themselves proves to be a fragile one. Racist violence enters their world and Srinivas’s life changes irrevocably – as does his dream of England as a country of tolerance and equality. First published in 1972, The Nowhere Man depicts a London convulsed by fear and bitterness.

Kamala Markandaya (1924 – 2004) was born in Mysore, India. She studied history at Madras University and later worked for a small progressive magazine before moving to London in 1948 in pursuit of a career in journalism. There she began writing her novels; Nectar in a Sieve, her first novel published in 1954, was in international best-seller.

The Nowhere Man is the only novel Markandaya wrote about England and describes the everyday racism experienced by immigrants on a South London street. A contemporary of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and R.K. Narayan, Kamala Markandaya is now being rediscovered as an essential figure in the post-colonial cannon.

Kim Oliver daughter of Kamala Markandaya will be in conversation with Emma Garman.

Emma Garman is a freelance writer whose essays and reviews have appeared in Newsweek, Longreads, Salon, Tablet Magazine, Lapham’s Quarterly Roundtable, The Daily Beast, and Words without Borders. Her “Feminize Your Canon” series for The Paris Review Daily looks at the lives and work of underappreciated women writers from around the globe.

Reviews on The Nowhere Man :

‘A book for our times written half a century ago is a fair definition of a classic. This brilliant if unjustly forgotten London novel combines the moral clarity of To Kill A Mockingbird with Markandaya’s own understanding that words are all it takes to set a society ablaze.’ Maya Jaggi

‘The Nowhere Man was Kamala Markandaya’s favourite of all her works - no doubt because the story featured something she observed frequently in England, her adopted country: racism. By addressing that issue frontally, she paved the way for novelists like Salman Rushdie and Nadeem Aslam. The novel is a richly rewarding and compelling narrative - I will leave you to discover for yourself its hellish ending.’ Charles R. Larson

‘With The Nowhere Man, Markandaya wrote a British state of the nation novel whose acuteness and depth of understanding, unsung at the time, resounds eerily today.’ Paris Review