A Matter of Rats
A Short Biography of Patna
By Amitava Kumar
(Duke University Press, Hardcover, 9780822357049, 116pp.)
Publication Date: April 2014
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Kumar's ruminations on one of the world's oldest cities, the capital of India's poorest province, are also a meditation on how to write about place. His memory is partial. All he has going for him is his attentiveness. He carefully observes everything that surrounds him in Patna: rats and poets, artists and politicians, a girl's picture in a historian's study, and a sheet of paper on his mother's desk. The result is this unique book, as cutting as it is honest.