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Monday, June 17, 2019

Review: Ink by Hari Kunzru

by Hari Kunzru 
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 
General Fiction (Adult)
Hari Kunzru was named one of Granta's twenty "Best of Young British Novelists" on the basis of his Somerset Maugham Award-winning The Impressionist. So I entered this with high-expectations.

Overworked businessman tells his story. He prefers seeing the world as a series of transactions. He reads self-help books and quotes from them. Were you to interrupt his visualization of his future money he promises he would beat you up.

"In business manuals, in magazines,  in the  entrepreneurship seminars that always seem to be held in grim hotel function rooms smelling of carpet cleaner and those chemistry experiments Americans call 'Danishes'--in every venue where the so called art of starting a  company is taught and learned, positive thinking lurks."
Lovely, humorously self-acidic to his stated goals, this text seems to be working against itself. He recalls vicious bullying he'd done as a child naming Babcock--like dumping ink over the weak kid's stuff--without regret except to blame Babcock for his being a bullying victim. The story builds towards certainty that this narrator was too hardened, too accepting of his conflated bullying and business ways.

But all of that washes away when he comes face to face with the victim of his former torment.

The story ends well although I'm not sure that the narrator would 1) be this articulate, and 2) wait this long to come to regret if it's been on his mind and he's into self-analysis and betterment. But the writing is lovely and the emotion keenly felt. It's worth the read--a succulent sample.

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