Sumana Roy


We send all orders via Royal Mail: within the UK, choose from 1st Class, 2nd Class or Special Delivery; for the rest of the world, International Standard or International Tracked. Delivery and packaging charges are calculated automatically at the checkout.

To collect orders in person from the Bookshop, choose Click and Collect at the checkout.

Yale University Press
28 May 2024
ISBN: 9780300266139
352 pages

From the publisher

From the acclaimed author of How I Became a Tree, an enchanting and joyous exploration of life and creativity at the geographical edges of the modern world
“A striking mix of memoir and literary analysis. . . . Wise and whimsical.”—Tunku Varadarajan, Wall Street Journal
Who is a provincial? In this subversive book, Sumana Roy assembles a striking cast of writers, artists, filmmakers, cricketers, tourist guides, English teachers, lovers and letter writers, private tutors and secret-keepers whose lives and work provide varied answers to that question. Combining memoir with the literary, sensory, and emotional history of an ignored people, she challenges the metropolitan’s dominance to reclaim the joyous dignity of provincial life, its tics and taunts, enthusiasms and tragicomedies.
In a wide-ranging series of “postcards” from the peripheries of India, Europe, America, and the Middle East, Roy brings us deep into the imaginative world of those who have carried their provinciality like a birthmark. Ranging from Rabindranath Tagore to William Shakespeare, John Clare to the Bhakti poets, T. S. Eliot to J. M. Coetzee, V. S. Naipaul to the Brontës, and Kishore Kumar to Annie Ernaux, she celebrates the provincials’ humor and hilarity, playfulness and irony, belatedness and instinct for carefree accidents and freedom. Her unprecedented account of provincial life offers an alternative portrait of our modern world.