Raj, Bohemian

Contemporary Fiction

March 5th, 2008

Themes: ,

I’ve been very impressed by our discussions over the New Yorker article “Raj, Bohemian.” It’s interesting that 1st and 3rd hour came to fairly different conclusions about the narrator and what it means to be “bohemian.”

Here’s a synopsis of both arguments. Please let me know what you think of each, and whether I’m accurately recounting the discussion.

First hour: The narrator has set himself up to be robbed of his “cultural capital.” By placing such importance on the exclusivity of his interests and actions, he has allowed his personality to be dictated not by any actual interests he may have but by the sense of originality they afford him.

Third hour: This short piece highlights the impossibility of unselfconscious uniqueness in modern society. Because modern individuals are constantly bombarded by commercial goods and advertisements, it is impossible to make a completely personal choice about taste

Also, the narrator may be crazy.

Any thoughts?

Tomorrow we will be discussing the narrator’s self image in relation to the other chracters and his comments on his environment.

Cool side note: Hari Kunzru is the author of The Impressionist (2002), Transmission (2004), and My Revolutions (2007). His first won several awards in Great Britain and Transmission was a NYT notable book of the year. I haven’t read any of these. If you pick one up, let us know what you think.