Dreaming in Hindi: Coming Awake in Another Language

Katherine Russell Rich, Author . Houghton Mifflin Harcourt $26 (360p) ISBN 978-0-618-15545-3

Rich, the author of The Red Devil: To Hell with Cancer—and Back , recounts in this wonderful memoir her subsequent life's journey: immersing herself in the transformative complexities of learning Hindi. Fired from her New York City magazine job, palpating the possibility of being a full-time writer and tempted by the “foolproof out” that was traveling to India, Rich ensconced herself in a yearlong language program in Udaipur, in the northwest state of Rajasthan, where with three other students she struggled to get her brain, and tongue, around the disorienting “monsoon of words” in the total immersion program. A delicate balance of social graces determined success or failure, as the author learned painfully when she felt compelled to relocate from the home of her host family, an extended Jain clan, because of misunderstanding over her nonmarried status. Fluidly interspersed within her witty, tongue-in-cheek account of the nutty fellow students and nosy, however well-meaning, Indian spectators are comments and elucidation on second-language acquisition from experts, and observations while visiting a school for the deaf. Homesick, rattled by the violence, Rich nonetheless arrived at making jokes and actually dreaming in Hindi, and in her deft and spirited prose depicts being literally “possessed by words.” (July)

Reviewed on: 04/13/2009
Release date: 07/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 360 pages - 978-0-547-33693-0
Paperback - 360 pages - 978-1-84627-262-2
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