Kumar on Mishra on Wallace

Amitava Kumar, whose site I read daily, applauds the NY Times Book Review‘s decision to assign a David Foster Wallace review (The Postmodern Moralist) to Pankaj Mishra.

Usually, folks of the tinted persuasion aren’t really expected to have any cogent views of the likes of John Updike or Philip Roth. J.M. Coetzee? Maybe. Zadie Smith? Sure. But, Jonathan Franzen? No!…. There is a reductive way in which moral indignation has become the brown man’s or brown woman’s burden. It is perverse but possible that Indian literature is considered more marketable today because we are considered somewhat preternaturally pissed-off, well-positioned to remind the West of the starving masses, fundamentalist rage, the avian flu, AIDS, the disappearing ozone, etc.


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