Intensely lyrical and deeply sensual, The Archer is about the transformative power of art, and the possibilities that love can open when we’re ready. We spoke with author Shruti Swamy about the inspiration for The Archer, the audiobook’s transformative narration, and more!
“The Archer is the story of a young Indian woman who longs to be a classical dancer — to feel that rhythm, to have that as her life focus — yet is continually buffeted by her choices and those made for her.”Becky, Vintage Books
Please tell us a little bit about what inspired you to write this book and how this story took shape for you.
Growing up, I heard so much about Bombay in the 60s and 70s, the slower, gentler, intensely romantic city where my parents were young. I wanted to understand what it might have felt like to live there. I was also interested in exploring a kind of life there I always wanted to read more of, about a woman who was trying to buck tradition and forge a life of art.
Kathak, the dance form that Vidya is inexorably drawn to, felt like the perfect expression of this desire: one that is rooted in centuries of tradition, and yet, is constantly evolving and utterly modern.
Have you listened to your own audiobook? What struck you about the narration?
I have to confess that I was moved nearly to tears listening to a sample of the audiobook. Sneha Mathan‘s narration has so much depth, it is so rich with knowing, that it transformed the text for me, brought it to life. She is a true artist!
What have independent bookstores and/or booksellers meant to you personally and professionally?
Not only have independent booksellers been some of the kindest people I have met, they are creating a refuge for all kind of books—not just the “big” ones. As a reader, I am both omnivorous and voracious—I love “big” books of course, but I also love the smaller ones, the weirder ones, the ones that might otherwise be overlooked if not for a staff pick, or a recommendation. I’m so glad that these books get champions that allow more of them to be published.
“Not only have independent booksellers been some of the kindest people I have met, they are creating a refuge for all kind of books—not just the ‘big’ ones.”author Shruti Swamy
Header photo by Abe Bingham