A.X. Ahmad was raised in India, educated at Vassar College and M.I.T., and has worked internationally as an architect. His short stories have been published in literary magazines, and he’s been listed in Best American Essays. The Caretaker is his first novel, to be followed by Bollywood Taxi next year. He lives in Washington, D.C.
From the author's conversation with Shivani Vora for the New York Times:
Q. What was your inspiration for The Caretaker?Learn more about the book and author at A.X. Ahmad's website and Facebook page.
A. Three separate pieces came together to inspire the book:
My wife’s family has a house in Martha’s Vineyard, and I used to spend summers there. Most of the summer workers are immigrants, and I became intrigued by this community and wondered what would happen if one of these immigrants stayed on the Island during the winter, when all the tourists were gone.
Also, a family friend on the Island is a caretaker and looks after many super-luxury homes. These mansions lie empty for most of the year, and he told me about how he would wander through them, opening closets and learning about the owners from what they had left behind. I immediately thought it was a great setting for a novel.
And finally, I happened across a self-published book of black-and-white photographs of the Siachen Glacier. I was stunned to find that India and Pakistan were fighting each other in this remote, freezing cold world of ice and snow. A lot of the soldiers were Sikhs. I began to imagine a Sikh army captain from this world, who has to leave the army in disgrace and emigrate to the U.S.A., and he ends up...[read on]
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