The Professor of Light by Marina Budhos

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"The reason we went to England the first summer, the summer I was ten, lay in a long-ago promise. And a long-ago philosopher named Heracleitus." So begins the journey of Meggie Singh and her father, a charming, befuddled professor of philosophy from the Caribbean. Every summer Meggie and her parents leave New York City, and move to the home of Aunt Inez and Uncle Tom in England. There, Professor Singh struggles to write a book that takes on one of the greatest paradoxes to confound thinkers of the twentieth century: the dual nature of light as both particle and wave. Each chapter in The Professor of Light is a summer spent in England as Meggie moves from childhood to the brink of adulthood and Professor Singh grooms his daughter in a rich mix of philosophy and Indian-Caribbean storytelling. Meggie adores her father, and the tales he passes down to her, which illuminate the lost history of her family scattered over India, Guyana, America, and England. But Professor Singh is haunted by the past: a promise to his family in Guyana; tales of "the jumbee curse"; a mother who bound her daughters to herself with a red ribbon, and filled her son's pockets with letters, which turned to stones and brought him back home; the bird-ghosts who unleash their fury on those who dare to run away and seek out their dreams.

About Marina Budhos

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Marina Budhos is the author of such books as "Ask Me No Questions", "Tell Us We're Home", and?"Remix: Conversations with Immigrant Teenagers." She has received an EMMA (Exceptional Merit Media Award) and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award for women writers. Ms. Budhos has been a Fulbright Scholar in India, has given talks throughout the country and abroad, and has taught at several universities and colleges. She is currently an associate professor of English at William Paterson University. She lives with her husband and fellow Atheneum author, Marc Aronson, and their two sons in Maplewood, New Jersey.?You can visit her online at
Published March 15, 1999 by Putnam Adult. 254 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Budhos (House of Waiting, etc., not reviewed) explores this contradictory state fruitfully, creating both a powerfully enigmatic, indirect characterization of the beleaguered father and a persuasive network of exfoliating consequences—including the indignant reactions of the Singhs’ relatives (an...

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Publishers Weekly

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Adolescent Meggie Singh faces her complex personal history as she struggles under her genius father's demanding tutelage in this luminous second novel by Budhos that chronicles Indo-Caribbean displacement.

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India Today

It seems appropriate to be reviewing a book entitled The Professor of Light in a week when fireworks flare and diyas illuminate homes across the country.

Nov 20 2001 | Read Full Review of The Professor of Light

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