Immigrants do not share a monolithic identity, says author from Pakistan | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Immigrants do not share a monolithic identity, says author from Pakistan

mumbai Updated: Jul 06, 2011 01:20 IST
Sucharita Kanjilal

Pakistani author HM Naqvi on Tuesday said that he wrote his award-winning novel, Home Boy, in a state of "complete destitution".

The book, which tells a story of three Pakistani boys living in contemporary New York, won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature in January.

"The $50,000 prize money that was given to me allows me the liberty of writing my next book unfettered by financial difficulties," Naqvi, 37, said while at a book reading at a city bookstore on Tuesday as part of the DSC Prize Winner's Tour, 2011.

The tour will also include visits to Chennai and Bengaluru and involve discussions by various audiences on South Asian literature and its position in the global sphere.

Naqvi said that through his book he tried to show that Pakistani immigrants do not share a monolithic identity.

"I am tired of every book repeating the same theme of nostalgia, how tough American life is and the hard work immigrants put in to rise in that society," said the Karachi resident, who studied at the Georgetown University in Washington.

Home Boy, which was among six other novels short-listed for the DSC Prize given at the annual DSC Jaipur Literature Festival, was commended for its bittersweet narrative that attempted to break stereotypes in diasporic literature.

Writer Jerry Pinto, who was present at the event as the chief respondent to the book, spoke about Naqvi's clever use of dialogues to flesh out his characters.

"There were several moments in the novel that really struck a chord, particularly vivid descriptions that were amusing and horrifying at the same time," Pinto said.

Naqvi addressed questions on living and writing in Karachi.

"Karachi shares the same rhythms as New York or any other big city, which I cannot do without," he said.

Naqvi took three years to complete the novel, which was published in September 2009.