American Turban

A.X. Ahmad’s “The Caretaker”

<em>The Caretaker</em> -- a novel by A.X. Ahmad. (Photo source: Target)

The Caretaker — a novel by A.X. Ahmad. (Photo source: Target)

On the blog Colorlines, Rinku Sen interviews writer A.X. Ahmad whose recently published fictional novel The Caretaker is set in Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts and features a Sikh protagonist named Ranjit Singh, “an undocumented Sikh immigrant struggling to make a life for himself, his wife and his daughter on Martha’s Vineyard, the summer get-away island for a good number of the country’s wealthy families, including the black elite.”

In the interview, A.X. Ahmad discusses various aspects of the book, including the selection of a Sikh as the main character:

For readers who are immigrants, I hope they will recognize in Ranjit some of their own experience. For other readers, I wanted to go beyond the shell of foreignness and otherness, and let them experience being in Ranjit’s skin. With any luck, the next time they see a Sikh or a Mexican laborer sweating while trimming hedges, their reaction will be tempered by empathy.

The Caretaker is the first book of a trilogy that will follow Ranjit Singh as a cab driver in New York in the second novel (Bollywood Taxi, to be published in 2014) and as a motel owner in northern California in the third (Gandhi Motel). As A.X. Ahmad told The New York Times, “Each book explores a different immigrant community.”

Blogger Amardeep Singh provides a review of The Caretaker on the blog The Aerogram, also addressing the novel from a Sikh perspective and offering some insight not available from more mainstream reviews:

…in a book that on the whole is more interested in its potboiler suspense plot than in making complex sociological points about race — Ahmad manages to say quite a lot about the status of immigrants in the version of America he is creating in “The Caretaker.”

The Caretaker is available in bookstores and online, including on Amazon.

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