Basu, Kunal 1956-
BASU, Kunal 1956-
PERSONAL: Born 1956, in Calcutta, India. Education: B.Eng., M.Sc., M.A.; University of Florida, Ph.D.
ADDRESSES: Home—England. Office—Templeton College, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 5NY, England. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, associate professor of marketing in Faculty of Management and former director of Centre for International Management Studies; Templeton College, Oxford, Oxford, England, fellow in strategic marketing and joint director of Oxford advanced management program; Renmin University, China, distinguished visiting professor. Consultant to international corporations and government departments; helped launch International Master's Programme in Practising Management (multinational consortium project); designer and director of programs in China, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), South Asia, Latin America, and Europe.
AWARDS, HONORS: Best journal article award, Academy of Marketing Science, 1994.
The Opium Clerk, Phoenix House (London, England), 2001.
The Miniaturist, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Has written extensively about business/marketing topics for a variety of publications, including the Ivey Business Journal. Contributor of poems and short stories to London magazine.
SIDELIGHTS: Kunal Basu has worked primarily in business education, but he is also the author of two novels. "Fiction is my first love," Basu explained in an article in the McGill Reporter. His first novel, The Opium Clerk, tells the story of Hiran, a high-caste, nineteenth-century Hindu whose father is killed fighting during the British occupation of India. Hiran ends up working at a British auction house associated with the production and distribution of opium. He is then approached by his deputy superintendent, Jonathan Crabbe, to help find a son for Crabbe's opium-addicted wife by convincing a suitable woman to give up her child. Hiran also gets caught up with Chinese rebels and the siege of Canton. Eventually the Crabbes abandon the half-caste son Hiran finds for them, and Hiran ends up taking care of the boy. A Kirkus Revews contributor commented that the book is "superbly researched, [and] quite beautifully written."
Basu's next novel, The Miniaturist, is set in sixteenth-century Hindustan and tells the story of the Mughal Emperor Akbar through the character of Bizhad, son of a court painter. Basu recounts Bizhad's life as he is groomed to follow in his father's footsteps. Bizhad gains fame as an artist and becomes a favorite of the emperor, but he also makes enemies who eventually get him expelled from the emperor's inner circle by revealing that Bizhad has made erotic paintings depicting Akbar and himself as lovers. "Once Bizhad's exile begins, suspense about his fate in the chaos and political upheaval of sixteenth-century Asia energizes the plot," noted Ellen Loughran in a review in Booklist. Loughran went on to call The Miniaturist "panoramic in scope, [and] lyrical in approach." A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that the book is "a richly satisfying original creation" and a "brilliant work." Writing about Basu and his novels in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mary Hood noted that, "in the novels of Kunal Basu, everyone is on a journey, everything in motion, all roads leading to and through ruin. His prose is seductive, vividly descriptive, intriguing."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mary Hood, "Exotic Journeys of the Heart and Mind," p. D5.
Booklist, May 15, 2004, Ellen Loughran, review of The Miniaturist, p. 1607.
Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2003, review of The Opium Clerk, p. 973; May 1, 2004, review of The Miniaturist, p. 407.
McGill Reporter, September 13, 2001, "A Tale of Drugs and Deception."
Templeton College Web site, http://www.templeton.ox.ac.uk/ (February 3, 2005), "Kunal Basu."