Amit Chaudhuri's Friend of My Youth


James Wood Upstate

Time Flows Like A River: Amit Chaudhuri and James Wood

Wednesday February 20, 2019
07:00 pm

Tags: Event

"Reading Friend of My Youth was very calming. A sort of relief. It re-arranged the nervous system: the sentences and paragraphs were in step with breath, with thought, with strolling; time is slowed down. I would not describe Amit as a miniaturist – although his books are short – no, he is an epic writer – his protagonists have made long journeys." — Deborah Levy


What does it mean to exist in both the past and the present? Is it true that "time flows like a river"? We forget the rituals by which the house of our life was erected and the stories a house can contain.


Amit Chaudhuri takes up the question of the divide between fiction and non-fiction, novel and memoir in Friend of My Youth (NYRB), the story of a house and a city told through geography, history, politics, and fable. New Yorker critic, essayist and novelist, James Wood (Upstate, 2018) has written extensively about Amit Chaudhuri's work. 


Chaudhuri is also a critically acclaimed singer in the North Indian classical tradition.  He performed two of his own compositions, accompanied by guitarist Phil Robson, prefacing the music with remarks that connect his music to his writing and life.



Amit Chaudhuri is a professor of contemporary literature at the University of East Anglia. He has written seven novels, including A Strange and Sublime Address and Afternoon Raag. His major works of nonfiction include Calcutta: Two Years in the CityTelling Tales; and Clearing Space. He is also the author of a book of short stories, Real Time, a book of poems, St. Cyril Road and Other Poems, and is the editor of the Picador Book of Modern Indian Literature.


James Wood is a book critic at The New Yorker and the recipient of a National Magazine Award in criticism. He is the author of several essay collections, the novel The Book Against God, and the study How Fiction Works. He is a professor of the practice of literary criticism at Harvard University.