The Girl Who Ate Books: What the critics say


Interviews and reviews:


Books for breakfast:

Tishani Doshi, The Hindu


“Meet Nilanjana Roy, author of The Girl Who Ate Books, a book so delicious it might make future bibliophagists of us all. Think of it as a guide to book lust, a compendium of Indian writing, an ABC of sorts where A stands for auction houses and Bibhutibhushan’s Apu; B for the Encyclopaedia Britannica (“the caste mark of the newly Anglicised Indian”) and the Bengali obsession for the Nobel Prize in Literature; D for Dean Mahomet and Daryaganj pavement booksellers; I for that ugly acronym IWE (Indian Writing in English); M for memsahib writing and mutiny novels; V for Vac, the Goddess of Speech.”

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The Unbroken Taar

Urvashi Bahuguna, Helter Skelter

In the prologue to the book, you acknowledge that your homage to books in India is focused on two cities and two languages. You invite writers from across the country to write their own memoirs of reading in other parts of India. It conjured up the image of a map with a dot for every place whose unique reading experience had been written about…

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Sunit Tandon in Outlook, April 2016

“Infused with intelligence and lucidity, Nilanjana’s style is calmly reasonable and enviably engaging. The writing is unifor­mly informed by a quiet but insistent passion—for books, writers, rea­­d­ing and other book-lov­ers—nonetheless moving for the softness with which it insinuates itself upon the reader. The most engrossing pieces, however, are those that are personal.”

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Why you must eat Nilanjana Roy’s new book

Devapriya Roy in Scroll, April 2016

“This book is a perfect antidote to the age of distractions. In a fell sweep it reminds you of that distant country, the past, when hours were measured in books, and there was nothing – but nothing – in the long afternoons, between your sweaty school-returned self and the insinuations of adult futures, with worries and whatnots, only you, a book (sometimes, a Russian book with characters called Vasily or Ninochka; sometimes, Enid Blyton; sometimes, Saradindu Banerjee)… I would heartily recommend you eat this book.”

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Abhijit Gupta in The Indian Express, May 2016

“The Girl Who Ate Books is a book about books, ramifying over a nearly two-century history of writing in India, primarily in the English language. Culled from Roy’s columns for over two decades, the essays constitute a virtual Who’s Who of the world of Indian English letters. Seven sections, mixed and shaken with personal reminiscences of reading and book-love, deliver a book infused with delicate remembrances of books and readings past.”

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Sumana Roy in Mint Lounge, April 2016

That a Bengali should write a book titled The Girl Who Ate Books seems like the most natural thing to do. Bengalis, after all, eat everything.

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Kankana Basu, The Asian Age/ The Deccan Chronicle, March 2016

“Informative, interesting and amusing in turns, and covering vast ground besides, The Girl Who Ate Books could well go on to become the Bible of Indian writing.”

Sarah Farooqui in the Business Standard, May 2016, A Reader’s Happy Place

“Like a large bookshelf, bursting with old books, new books, fiction, non-fiction, and more, this eclectic collection of essays is a happy place (borrowing from its blurb) for anyone who reads to live or lives to read.”


Of Bookworms and the Warmth of Books

Deepa Bhasthi, The New Indian Express, April 2016

“…a wonderful journey into reading in English in India. In her personal account of a lifetime of reading, the book is representative of an entire generation’s reading habits honed, through trial and error and instinct, over long summer days, in old bungalows and with pavement booksellers.”

Latha Venkatraman, Deccan Herald, April 2016

“You always remember the first book you read. And that first book sets you possibly on a never-ending journey of reading in which you discover your own comfort zones in genres, subjects and styles of writing.”

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