Bhanu Kapil’s postcolonial feminist road novel Incubation: A Space for Monsters has long been out of print. The book of hers that most engages with the mythos and reality of America, Incubation follows Laloo, a British woman of Indian descent, who arrives in the US to give birth to a monster. This fictional story parallels Bhanu’s own arrival in the United States, a move that was meant to be a permanent one, a leaving behind of England forever. And yet, now, as Incubation has a second renewed life in the US and arrives for the first time in the UK, Bhanu herself is, decades later, living again in England. We talk about questions of migration, immigration, home, hospitality, performance, ritual, memory, family, and gendered, racialized, and institutional violence, in light of Bhanu’s own return to the place she thought she never would. “What is a monster?” is a question that animates this book and animates our conversation today. How do monsters relate to writing and form, to identity and belonging, and to Bhanu’s own writing and teaching? We talk about all this and more.
For the bonus audio archive Bhanu contributes an extended reading for us: of Annie Ernaux, Eunsong Kim, Kate Zambreno, Sofia Samatar, and recent writings from Bhanu’s own notebook. To find out how to subscribe to the bonus audio and the other potential benefits of joining the Between the Covers community as a listener-supporter head over to the show’s Patreon page.
Finally here is today’s Bookshop.