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A Matter of Rats: A Short Biography of Patna
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A Matter of Rats: A Short Biography of Patna [Hardcover]

Amitava Kumar
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews) 100% Purchase Protection

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Book Description

12 July 2013

It is not only the past that lies in ruins in Patna, it is also the present. But that is not the only truth about the city that the author explores in this vivid, entertaining account of his hometown. We accompany him on journeys and memories through many Patnas, the myriad cities within the city the shabby reality of the present-day capital of Bihar, Pataliputra, the storied city of emperors, the dreamlike embodiment of the city in the minds and hearts of those who have escaped its confines. Full of fascinating observations and perspective, A Matter of Rats reveals a challenging and entertaining city which exerts a lasting pull on all those who drift into its orbit.

Key Features

  • The first in Aleph Book Company’s pioneering range of short books on some of India's iconic cities.
  • Explores the many Patnas through the stories of the people who inhabit the city
  • From drunken rats to great empires, new malls to the best coaching classes see a Patna that has never been seen before

Frequently Bought Together

A Matter of Rats: A Short Biography of Patna + Degree Coffee by the Yard: A Short Biography of Madras + City Adrift: A Short Biography of Bombay
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Product Description

About the Author

Amitava Kumar is the author of several works of non-fiction and a novel. His latest book, A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm, a Tiny Bomb, was judged the Best Non-Fiction Book of the Year at the Page Turner Literary Award. He is Professor of English at Vassar College, New York.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Aleph Book Company (12 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9382277226
  • ISBN-13: 978-9382277224
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 12.6 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #24,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars View from an expat 26 September 2013
By Expat
Small book: I read it on a 3-day trip to Mumbai and thoroughly enjoyed. Having only lived in Patna since January I found it highly entertaining and enlightening. Mr. Kumar's writing style is engaging although a little slow in the middle section. He's certainly not out to take cheapshots at his hometown and goes to some length to delve into the experiences of some who have (especially Shiva Naipaul). It feels like an authentic and honest take without superfluous commentary. Small details like Marlon Brando's visit to Patna are fascinating, and the way he captures the scene of crowds trying the escalators at P&M Mall for the first time is dead-on; anyone who has been there will identify with his take. Just today I saw a woman nearly fall backwards trying to get on, and I was glad she and her family were laughing about it. I don't have too many resources on Patna - not the least of which a modern 'short biography'. Four stars well-earned.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An average read...with a gorgeous cover 10 September 2013
By ts
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Gorgeous cover, mediocre book. Should be re-titled a short, meandering biography of Amitava Kumar and Patna. To be honest, it felt like Amitava Kumar dropped into David Davidar's Aleph office one evening, and David happened to suggest: "Hey Amitava, aren't you from Patna? Everyone keeps dissing Patna, why don't you write about it?" Sure thing, David! And 35,000 words later - A Matter of Rats! Yippee.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A prism in patna 10 September 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Complete page turner yet gripping,concise in size yet comprehensive in saying Patna story conveyed through personal encounters.Succeeded in putting together the factors that led this great city from glorious past to present chaos to future full of promises.
.A must for Patnaites and nonpatnaise.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good read, but not great! 10 January 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A bit slow at times, however, an interesting read. Those who like such text, can obviously like it. For those looking for light reading or so, it's not a recommended title. Read only if you have patience and punch for city-based biographies.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read despite its failings 29 October 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An interesting read (despite its failings) that arouses pity, nostalgia, and pride.

And a gem from the epilogue: “There is no truth in non-fiction; there is only perspective.”
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