Hari Kunzru

Hari Kunzru writes fiction, essays and journalism.

For Tom Wolfe, the New Journalism was defined by the appearance of all kinds of literary devices in non-fiction writing, but chiefly by an unwillingness to adopt the traditional journalistic tone of polite neutrality. He made the business of voice appear as if it was simply a matter of style, a confident new generation trying on a linguistic version of one of his own well-cut suits. While this surface stylishness characterises Wolfe’s own voice, with its caustic social observations and bravura displays of writerly technique, for other writers the chance to speak in an unmediated first person fulfilled a more urgent necessity. It allowed Michael Herr, on assignment in Vietnam for Esquire and Rolling Stone, to write about his own terror and confusion as he drifted through the war zone, and it allowed Joan Didion, in The White Album, to weave details of her anxious upscale-Californian life into a startling account of the collapse of Sixties idealism.


Hari Kunzru, 22 May 1997

‘Ecstasy’ is a brand name. According to tradition, the tag first became attached to the drug MDMA (3-4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine) some time in the early Eighties, when it moved out of the American psychotherapeutic community, in which it had circulated for over a decade, and into wider use as a recreational drug. The street-dealers needed something punchy, and with its connotations of sexual abandon, the word ‘ecstasy’ propelled the drug into mass use, international prohibition and ultimately a social significance only matched, in the pharmaceutical stakes, by the flowering of an LSD culture during the Sixties.



6 June 1996

Tom Vanderbilt makes some good points about Douglas Coupland’s book Microserfs (LRB, 6 June), but when he attempts to place it in some kind of technical context, his painful ignorance of his subject-matter becomes apparent. ‘Coke-and-junk-food-fuelled insomniac bouts of technical programming have largely been replaced by friendlier mechanisms like “html" that can be learnt in one day and used...

In​ 1903, W.C. Handy, the self-proclaimed ‘father of the blues’, was touring Mississippi with his band, the Colored Knights of Pythias, when he fell asleep at a railway station in...

Read more reviews

Don’t laugh: Hari Kunzru

Amit Chaudhuri, 8 August 2002

The story begins one afternoon, ‘three years after the beginning of the new century’ (the 20th). A figure on a horse appears on mountainous terrain. This is Ronald Forrester, dust...

Read more reviews

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences