Bharati Mukherjee, Writer Of Indian-American Experiences, Dies At 76 Indian-born author Bharati Mukherjee became a naturalized American citizen and wrote about the experience of Indian women in the diaspora. She's best-known for her novel, Jasmine.
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Bharati Mukherjee, Writer Of Indian-American Experiences, Dies At 76

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Bharati Mukherjee, Writer Of Indian-American Experiences, Dies At 76

Bharati Mukherjee, Writer Of Indian-American Experiences, Dies At 76

Bharati Mukherjee, Writer Of Indian-American Experiences, Dies At 76

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/512998406/512998409" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Indian-born author Bharati Mukherjee became a naturalized American citizen and wrote about the experience of Indian women in the diaspora. She's best-known for her novel, Jasmine.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A writer who spent a career asking what it means to be an immigrant in America has died. Bharati Mukherjee wrote more than 15 books, short stories, novels, essays, also a memoir. She won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1988 for "The Middleman And Other Stories." Mukherjee died Saturday of a heart condition. She was 76 years old. And NPR's Rose Friedman has this remembrance.

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BHARATI MUKHERJEE: I think for me my fiction is a way of getting in touch with my inner bad girl.

ROSE FRIEDMAN, BYLINE: Bharati Mukherjee didn't start out as a bad girl. She told WHYY's Fresh Air in 2002 that she was born into an upper-class family in what was then known as Calcutta, a family where girls attend Catholic school and listen to their parents.

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MUKHERJEE: My father decided what we wore, what opinions we had.

FRIEDMAN: That all changed in 1961 when Mukherjee headed to the Iowa Writers' Workshop. At the time, her parents were arranging a marriage for her at home. But she married a Canadian student and spent the rest of her life in the U.S. and Canada. Her fictional characters in such novels as "Jasmine" and "A Tiger's Daughter" grappled with the question she herself encountered, that to enter a new culture some of the old must be tossed aside. Mukherjee thought of herself as a fully North American writer, as she told an interviewer at Drexel University in 2006.

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MUKHERJEE: It was very, very hard to get editors, readers, reviewers to understand that someone with an Indian-sounding name, Bharati Mukherjee, has the right to, is fascinated by writing about the country that I have adopted...

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Interesting.

MUKHERJEE: ...Made my own.

FRIEDMAN: Bharati Mukherjee once said that immigrants, quote, "take risks they wouldn't have taken in their old, comfortable worlds to solve their problems. As they change citizenship, they are reborn."

Rose Friedman, NPR News.

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