Welcome to the Book Marks Questionnaire, where we ask authors questions about the books that have shaped them.
This week, we spoke to the author of A Burning (out this week in paperback), Megha Majumdar.
Book Marks: First book you remember loving?
Megha Majumdar: I loved reading the atlas. We had a big Reader’s Digest atlas that I spent hours with, looking at ocean depths and the names of towns in countries far away. I remember being struck by Medicine Hat, in Canada.
BM: What book do you think your book is most in conversation with?
MM: If I may be so bold, I hope my book is in conversation with politically-charged fiction by Tayari Jones, Marlon James, and Viet Thanh Nguyen.
BM: A book that blew your mind?
MM: I am excited about Daphne Palasi Andreades’ forthcoming debut novel, Brown Girls. The narrative voice, the artistic vision of it—so energizing!
BM: A book that made you cry?
MM: A book I found immensely moving was Eric Nguyen’s Things We Lost to the Water, especially the character of the mother in that book.
BM: What book from the past year would you like to give a shout-out to?
MM: Shruti Swamy’s incredible story collection A House is a Body.
BM: A book that actually made you laugh out loud?
MM: Liv Stratman’s Cheat Day.
BM: Favorite book no one has heard of?
MM: The Sly Company of People Who Care by Rahul Bhattacharya, a novel about an Indian cricket journalist in Guyana.
BM: Favorite book you were assigned in high school?
MM: If memory serves, we read some R. K. Narayan in middle school and high school, which I was very glad for. Are you familiar with his work? A brilliant 20th century Indian writer who created a town called Malgudi, with beautiful attention to small town lives, schemes, amusements.
BM: Book(s) you’re reading right now?
BM: Book you wish would be adapted for a film/tv show?
MM: Jenny Tinghui Zhang’s forthcoming debut novel Four Treasures of the Sky would make an epic, moving, gorgeous film. I’d love to watch that.
Megha Majumdar was born and raised in Kolkata, India. She moved to the United States to attend college at Harvard University, followed by graduate school in social anthropology at Johns Hopkins University. She works as an editor at Catapult and lives in New York City. A Burning is her first book.
Megha Majumdar’s A Burning is out tomorrow in paperback from Vintage