Deborah Baker

Deborah Baker’s most recent book, The Convert, about a Jewish woman who converted to Islam, was a finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction.

Princess Jasmine strips: Saleem Haddad

Deborah Baker, 16 February 2017

Guapa, a freewheeling and incendiary first novel by Saleem Haddad, is set in an Arab country familiar to many from the newspapers, even though its author won’t let us place it on a map. The son of a Lebanese-Palestinian father and an Iraqi-German mother, Haddad is himself a composite. His story takes place six months after Arab Spring-like protests have besieged the country’s...

I have a friend​ whose son was killed in a school shooting. A smallish school shooting. It took place seven years before Columbine got Americans used to the practice of not thinking about guns. To understand how it happened, my friend sought out surviving witnesses, the gun shop owner who sold the gun, the dean of the college where the shooting took place, and the shooter’s...

At Ramayan Shah’s Hotel: Calcutta

Deborah Baker, 23 May 2013

In January 1990 I moved from New York to Calcutta to get married. Having never been to India, I came equipped with V.S. Naipaul’s India: A Wounded Civilisation and Geoffrey Moorhouse’s rather more upbeat and engaging Calcutta. My mother, arriving for the wedding, looked around and seemed to grasp things rather more directly. ‘You must really love him,’ she said.


Robert Oppenheimer knew Sanskrit. Quotations from the Bhagavad Gita flashed through his mind when he witnessed the first atomic explosion in New Mexico in 1945: ‘Suppose a thousand suns...

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Jenny Turner, 10 March 1994

Laura Riding, so Deborah Baker tells us, first emerged into the public world of books in 1924. She was 23 years old and living in Louisville with her husband, a history professor whom she met...

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