Sabahat Zakariya in The Friday Times:
As the conversation turns to ‘Two Lives’, his book about his Indian uncle and German aunt that is a particular favourite of mine, I ask him which prose genre is his favourite: “I like narrative non-fiction as a reader, though I do like a lot of fiction too. People tend to think that narrative non-fiction is simpler. You start at one point and you end at another but for something like ‘Two Lives’, for instance, there is a lot of complexity. It is actually two and a half lives since I am also a character in the book. A great deal of thought went behind deciding its structure, how to fit all the lives, where to place the letters and the pictures and so on.”
“I love the way it begins, with you standing outside that house in London”, I gush. He smiles graciously, “Chekov had this wonderful saying: Start in medias res. So just that, ‘When I was sixteen I was sent to…’ Just that.”
“No Thomas Hardying around?” I add helpfully.
“Haha. Yes. No Thomas Hardying around. Bus seedhi baat.”