A Blue Hand and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

A Blue Hand: The Beats in India Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 10, 2008


See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover, Bargain Price, April 10, 2008
$8.99 $2.00

This is a bargain book and quantities are limited. Bargain books are new but could include a small mark from the publisher and an Amazon.com price sticker identifying them as such. Details


Special Offers and Product Promotions


Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The (April 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1615554602
  • ISBN-13: 978-1615554607
  • ASIN: B001JJBOCE
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,121,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A passionate account of the Beats at home and in the world. Baker captures the range of their artistic and spiritual passions, as well as their pettiness, their tantrums, their always difficult loves. Her tenderness and finely tuned humor, as well as her ease in both cultures, makes her a perfect recreator of this ornery band of seekers. And of the ways in which India and the United States have understood and misunderstood each other over the ages. A truly vivid, wonderful book."
-Kiran Desai, author of The Inheritance of Loss

"Sympathetic without being sycophantic, Deborah Baker has made an important and vivid contribution to our understanding of the Beats, both as phenomenon and as individuals. More broadly, A Blue Hand is an original and entrancing account of how India expanded the possibilities of western consciousness."
--Geoff Dyer, author of Out of Sheer Rage

"A fabulous book - comic, tragic, and written with great verve and nerve -about the Beats and their 'passage to India'. It is a remarkable saga of various lives and stories all drawn together by Deborah Baker - the biographer as adventurer."
-Michael Ondaatje

"'Beat' was short for 'beatitude,' and India was the place to find it. A Blue Hand is a deeply researched, elegantly written account of those days of divine, induced, and congenital madness- the last adventures in American poetry."
-Eliot Weinberger

"This is a haunting portrait of a band of poets bravely, if naively, taking on drugs, disease, unbridled passion, and the whole of Indian religious history, in an adventure that never fails to move and often instructs. A fascinating history of the weirdest moment in the long and ongoing European and American search for the answer to it all in India."
-Wendy Doniger, Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions in the Divinity School, University of Chicago

"I boarded those third class trains to enlightenment, and befriended the fragile heroes of this book. Deborah Baker's narrative is concise, rich, unsentimental and shows how, just like India, a spiritual journey is grotesque, sublime, comical, but never sad."
-Francesco Clemente

"A beautiful book! As deftly woven and fully-realized as a novel, this is a fascinating, original work of scholarship, following the beat poets on their journeys to India in a way that illuminates their inner lives, their poetry and the fantastical nature of pilgrimage itself." -Melanie Thernstrom, author of Halfway Heaven

About the Author

In 1990 Deborah Baker moved to Calcutta where she studied Bengali and wrote In Extremis: The Life of Laura Riding, a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in Biography. Since then, her essays have appeared in a range of publications from The New York Times to the Calcutta Statesmen. With her husband, the writer Amitav Ghosh, and her two children Lila and Nayan, she now divides her time between Calcutta, Goa and Brooklyn.

More About the Author

Born in Charlottesville, Deborah Baker grew up in Virginia, Puerto Rico and New England. In 1990 she moved to Calcutta where she wrote In Extremis, a biography of the American modernist poet, Laura Riding which was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize in biography. A Blue Hand: The Beats in India (2008) explored the imaginative relationship between India and America as seen through the Indian travels of Allen Ginsberg et al in the early 60s. In 2008-2009 she was a Fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis C. Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars at The New York Public Library. There she researched and wrote The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism (2011), a narrative account of the life of an American convert to Islam, drawing on letters she found in the library's manuscript division. The Convert was a finalist for the National Book Award.

See: http://www.deborahbaker.net/

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Otaku Girl on June 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I read in the New York Times that Deborah Baker was Barack Obama's editor for his memoir, so I was curious to see if she was as good a writer as she was an editor. I'm happy to report that she is an excellent writer. I was thoroughly engrossed by A BLUE HAND. To be honest, I was never a big fan of the Beats in general, but Ms. Baker's book reads like a novel and I find her portraits of the characters to be multi-layered and complex. I especially like the complex portrait she also paints of India and New York City. I feel that I learned quite a lot about the historical period and cultural zeigeist. What's more, Ms. Baker's prose is quite lyrical. For example, I liked lines such as "A woman married in a red-and-gold Benarsi silk sari is a well-married woman. The rooftops of Benares are dotted with cross-legged old men at spinning wheels who, like latter-day Rumpelstiltskins, spin skeins of gold thread onto skeins of white silk." Her literary roots and appreciation are revealed in her judicious use of quotes from writers of the era. I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy good prose!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kevin M. Harvey on January 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A Blue Hand is something of a minor miracle: it somehow manages to cover the history of the main characters in roughly 100 pages- before we get to India. The writing is musical and flawless and the biook serves as perfect introductory, background text to the work of the BEATS. It is, in manay ways, a perfect course in 200 pages. I can't recommend it highly enough.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By cilla on October 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating slice of life of the beat poets seen through Allen Ginsberg's Indian (and American) experiences. A great read.
Cilla
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By The Passionate Ornithologist on February 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
A good 1/3 or more of the book merely regurgitates what every bio since the 70s has said about Ginsberg and co. The author obviously going to great pains to add yet another book (this one totally trivial) to the already overflowing Beat-related material out there. The other 2/3rds of the book is supposed to be in regards to a very minor Beat character, Hope Savage (since all the major folks have been written about it only "makes sense" to mine what there is available of marginal participants, in this case very little). Lots of endless and trivial minutiae and speculative passages. Really tedious. Too bad as I was looking forward to reading about Ginsberg and co's travels through India. Must not be a lot of documentation.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 31 people found the following review helpful By M. Bisbey on May 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Strange book. It left me with the feeling that if I really wanted to find out what that time was like for the major characters I'd need to do my own research. I thought Allen Ginsberg was represented as a rather pathetic, emotionally damaged, spiritually immature person. This may have been true, but how could anyone writing about him today possibly know that? Rambling and at times incoherent, the book disappointed.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Search