Dreaming in Hindi: Life in Translation

Author(s): Katherine Russell Rich

Travel Narratives | Breast Cancer

'I took up with Hindi at a time when it seemed my life had buckled out from under me - I no longer had the language to describe my own life. So I decided I'd borrow someone else's.'


Having survived a serious illness and now at an impasse in her career, Rich spontaneously accepts a freelance assignment to go to India, where she finds herself utterly overwhelmed by the place and the language. Before she knows it, she is on her way to Udaipur, a city in Rajasthan, to live with a local family and join a special language school offering 'total immersion'. What follows is a year of linguistic adventure and cultural surprises in which Rich gradually sheds her foreignness, to discover a new country and a new way of communicating. Fascinated by the process, she seeks out linguistic experts around world to understand what goes in the brain as we pick up a new vocabulary.


Both a clever, lucid and funny memoir, and a unique investigation into the science of language acquisition, Dreaming in Hindi offers an engrossing account of what learning a new language can teach us about distant worlds and, ultimately, ourselves.

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"Dreaming in Hindi is the verbally and emotionally dazzling story of Rich's passage to India, where she tried to master an intricate foreign tongue - and became fluent in the language of human possibility." - O, The Oprah Magazine

"Riveting and sharply observed." - Wall Street Journal

"A work that will inevitably be compared to Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love . . . [Dreaming in Hindi] traces the far-flung adventures of a thoughtful, soul-searching, single woman from New York." - New York Times

"Rich is a charming raconteur." - San Francisco Chronicle,

"In her deftly written memoir, Dreaming in Hindi, Rich makes us wish we too could come alive in a foreign world, fearless of mistakes, misperceptions and mishaps, and enlivened by the unfamiliar . . . a natural journalist, [she] gracefully sprinkles reportage about neuroscience and linguistics, as well as her own poignant insights, into her narrative." - Elle

Katherine Russell Rich is the author of the award-winning memoir The Red Devil: To Hell with Cancer and Back. She has written for the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, Salon, and O, the Oprah Magazine. She teaches writing in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Check out her website here.

General Fields

  • : 9781846272622
  • : Granta Books
  • : Portobello Books Ltd
  • : August 2011
  • : United Kingdom
  • : October 2011
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : 2
  • : 915.40453
  • : 384
  • : Illustrations
  • : Katherine Russell Rich