In his debut book, “Not Native: Short Stories of Immigrant Life in an In-Between World,” Murali Kamma, managing editor of Khabar magazine, focuses on Indian immigrants in the United States.
A synopsis of the book on the author’s website says the characters in the book deal with “conflict, growth, dislocation, and renewal in a new world.”
The book has several narratives —there’s a father who steps off a train at a station and disappears for his son's entire childhood; an emigrant son returns for a visit easily falls in with his father's delusion that he is a domestic worker; a couple safely ensconced in their American life face the costs of their choices when those they left behind come to visit; and an out-of-work IT worker tries to hide his unemployment from his visiting mother convinced of his success.
“Like many immigrants straddling two worlds, the characters in this book are acute observers—and diffident interpreters—of a much larger world that will never feel fully familiar again,” the synopsis says.
The book has been received well by established authors including Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Bharti Kirchner, Waqas Khwaja, Ellen Douglass Leyburn, Professor of English at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, and Roderick Clark, editor and publisher of Rosebud magazine.
"In this exciting and moving debut collection, Murali Kamma explores the immigrant condition with compassion and candor,” Banerjee Divakaruni says. “Readers, no matter what their background, will relate to these characters who are part Indian, part American, and wholly human.”
Kirchner calls “Not Native” “a collection of powerful stories that opens up a larger world for the reader.” Kircher says “the haunting quality and the emotional punch they deliver linger in the mind. This is a writer to watch."
In his review of the book, Khwaja says that “from the first paragraph, the very first sentence, Murali Kamma had me engrossed and engaged in the narrative, and my interest did not diminish until I got to end of the book, twenty stories in all, to its very last sentence.”
Kamma’s life as an immigrant straddling two cultures inspired him to write the book. After graduating from Loyola College in India, he continued his education at the State University of New York at Buffalo.