Well into my Hari Kunzru research phase ahead of my interview with him next week. While searching for articles about him on the net, came across this googlism which I think is fun. ("Hari Kunzru is one hip dude!")
Have been so enjoying his second novel Transmission that I'm so sad I've got to the end of it.
Arjun Mehta, computer geek and lover of Bollywood films is offered a lucrative IT job in "Amrika", but finds himself an exploited cybercoolie instead. When a job with a global software security organization turns up, it seems like his chance for a fulfilled life has arrived at last. But when he finds himself facing redundancy, he releases a malicious computer virus, so that he can impress his boss with his ability to create a cure for it. The whole wired world switches on their computers to see Arjun's favourite Bollywood actress, Leela Zahir, dancing on their computer while the virus embeds itself into their software, where it wrecks havoc for organisations across the globe. Arjun finds himself on the run from the FBI and declared a terrorist and hides out in the dark underbelly of America.
As the virus spreads, Arjun's actions have far-reaching implications for Marketing Exective Guy Swift with all his vacuous branding pyschobabble, and for the desperately unhappy Bollywood star shooting her next musical in a castle in Scotland.
Yes, it's a very funny, enjoyable read, but so richly detailed that you need to read carefully so as not to miss anything. Kunzru frequently delights with a clever turn of phrase (Arjun "meerkating" above his cubicle to see what's going on, a DJ "who bestrode the Uplifting Ambient Scene like a tight t-shirted colossus", are but a couple of things that made me laugh out loud). But the book also asks very important questions about globalisation, our dependency on computers, and the powerlessness of immigrants.
Oh and the ending! It's just so Bollywood!
Okay then, one more book left to read - Noise, a tiny volume of stories published in Penguins 70's series ...
Kunzru Makes an Impression (17/10/05)
Kunzru Coming! (31/3/06)
Hari Kunzru Appearances (27/4/06)