Citing it as a 2019 novel that should be on people’s 2020 reading list, Krupa Shandilya, associate professor of Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies, recently penned a review for The Los Angeles Review of Books about Jennifer Acker’s debut novel, The Limits of the World.
In the novel, Acker, a member of Amherst’s Class of 2000 and founder and editor in chief of the Amherst-based literary journal The Common, tells the story of multiple migrations of the Chandaria family from India to Kenya, and then to the United States, as each subsequent generation seeks a better life elsewhere.
“What is home? In another, less accomplished novel, this question might be answered by heavy-handed expositions on intersectional identity positions. But in Acker’s novel, the question lingers like the scent of a departed lover, illuminating the past through the warm flow of memory and pressing on the conflicts of the present like the dull ache of a forgotten wound,” Shandilya wrote.
“It’s very rare to see a white novelist take on the lives of immigrants with such sensitivity and insight,” she continued. “Acker’s formidable research into the little-known world of Indian immigrants in Kenya is apparent in the many small details of her novel … It’s an act of great courage to write a story that is not one’s own, and to write it with dexterity and finesse is simply a magnificent achievement.”