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Notes of a Mediocre Man

Notes of a Mediocre Man

By Bipin Aurora

Two brothers come to school and do nothing but tell stories. A young woman works at the Indian Consulate in a major American city. A man goes to a singles dance. An unnamed narrator offers his “notes” on modern-day America. An old Jewish man in a nursing home tells the tale of his daughter. A retired man in India tries to collect his pension. A woman tells the story of her husband's death in partition India. A man goes from interview to interview, hoping for employment. Some stories are fable-like, others more realistic. However, all stories deal, in one way or another, with small, “mediocre” people—people trying to fit into a world of bigness, applause, success.




336 pages |

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Magnetically readable, Notes of a Mediocre Man offers alternating views of America and India through the eyes of ordinary people—children, workers, survivors, underdogs—whose inner and outer worlds are realized in a brilliantly poignant, fable-like style reminiscent of Isaac Bashevis Singer's. Aurora speaks for common or "mediocre" humanity, buffeted by the brutalities and dreams of an unsettled global era; his immigrants recall Bharati Mukherjee's characters struggling with disillusion, while his Indians are as knowingly and lovingly depicted as R.K. Narayan's broad range of human types. Yet his style is unique: the signature voice of a storyteller who unerringly fits all local themes and affiliations within the compass of philosophical questions—of good and evil, innocence and experience. A beautiful book that reads fast but lingers long in memory.

Sharona Muir, author of Invisible Beasts: Tales of the Animals that Go Unseen Among Us

[Bipin Aurora's] writing is spare, but illuminating, with characters who are ordinary, but certainly not mediocre.

Georgia Rowe, East Bay Times


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About the author

Born in Delhi, India, Bipin Aurora came to the United States when he was nine and currently lives in Oakland. His fiction has appeared in numerous publications, including Michigan Quarterly Review, Southwest Review, Nimrod International Journal, and Grain.