Sopan Deb is a writer for the New York Times where he has covered culture and basketball. He is also a New York City–based comedian. Before joining the Times, Deb was one of a handful of reporters who covered Donald Trump’s presidential campaign from start to finish as a campaign embed for CBS News. He covered hundreds of rallies in more than forty states for a year and a half and was named a “breakout media star” of the election by Politico. At the New York Times, Deb has interviewed high-profile subjects such as Denzel Washington, Stephen Colbert, the cast of Arrested Development, Kyrie Irving, and Bill Murray. Deb’s work has previously appeared on NBC, Al Jazeera America, and in the Boston Globe, ranging from examining the trek of endangered manatees to following a class of blind filmmakers in Boston led by the former executive producer of Friends. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for Larger Than Life, a documentary he produced for the Boston Globe, which told the story of NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell’s complicated relationship with the city of Boston. He lives in New York City with his fiancée, Wesley.
Meeting the South Asian Parents
Who Raised Me
by Sopan Deb
A bittersweet and humorous memoir of family—of the silence and ignorance that separate us, and the blood and stories that connect us—from an award-winning New York Times writer and comedian.
Approaching his 30th birthday, Sopan Deb had found comfort in his day job as a writer for the New York Times and a practicing comedian. But his stage material highlighting his South Asian culture only served to mask the insecurities borne from his family history. Sure, Deb knew the facts: his parents, both Indian, separately immigrated to North America in the 1960s and 1970s. They were brought together in a volatile and ultimately doomed arranged marriage and raised a family in suburban New Jersey before his father returned to India alone.
But Deb had never learned who his parents were as individuals—their ages, how many siblings they had, what they were like as children, what their favorite movies were. Theirs was an ostensibly nuclear family without any of the familial bonds. Coming of age in a mostly white suburban town, Deb’s alienation led him to seek separation from his family and his culture, longing for the tight-knit home environment of his white friends. His desire wasn’t rooted in racism or oppression; it was born of envy and desire—for white moms who made after-school snacks and asked his friends about the girls they liked and the teachers they didn’t. Deb yearned for the same.
Deb’s experiences as one of the few minorities covering the Trump campaign, and subsequently as a stand up comedian, propelled him on a dramatic journey to India to see his father—the first step in a life altering journey to bridge the emotional distance separating him from those whose DNA he shared. Deb had to learn to connect with this man he recognized yet did not know—and eventually breach the silence separating him from his mother. As it beautifully and poignantly chronicles Deb’s odyssey, Missed Translations raises questions essential to us all: Is it ever too late to pick up the pieces and offer forgiveness? How do we build bridges where there was nothing before—and what happens to us, to our past and our future, if we don’t?
“A delightful memoir of people and place that will draw in Deb’s fans and attract plenty of new ones.”
-Library Journal (starred review)
“I was moved by the ways in which Sopan Deb taps into both the darkness and light that permeate a story about love, family, and understanding. He’s a masterful storyteller, and I’m thankful for his bravery and willingness to share the kind of human story that we too often prefer to keep to ourselves.”
-Kal Penn, comedian and actor
“Both moving and hilarious, Missed Translations is not just about exploring culture, family, and love, but about understanding where one comes from in the deepest possible way. It’s a wonderful journey.”
-Jake Tapper, CNN host and author of The Hellfire Club“
“Sopan Deb hilariously and truthfully lets us in on the ups, downs, lefts, and rights of trying to understand – as a standup comedian and a journalist – the two grown-up strangers who raised him. It’s a crazy story, but you know. Good crazy. Funny crazy. Read-this-book crazy.”
-Pete Holmes, comedian, podcast host, and author of Comedy Sex God
“As a man who has both been a performer and covered performance, Sopan Deb now paints his most important picture yet, the self-portrait.”
-Roy Wood Jr., comedian and correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
“A sympathetic portrait of South Asians who are neither crazy and rich nor humorless nerds…Memoirs by children of immigrants often fault clueless parents; this one is refreshing for Deb’s realization that—whatever his elders’ missteps—he needed “to take some responsibility for my part in our family’s disconnect” for things to change.”
“While his topic is serious, Deb’s writing is breezy and witty, and his earnestness will sweep readers up into this charmer of a memoir.”
Publisher: Folio Books
Publishing Date: December 31, 2020
Slavoj Žižek is one of the most prolific and well-known philosophers and cultural theorists in the world today. His inventive, provocative body of work mixes Hegelian metaphysics, Lacanian psychoanalysis, and Marxist dialectic in order to challenge conventional wisdom and accepted verities on both the Left and the Right.
Mariam Mufti is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political science at the University of Waterloo, Canada. She studies the politics of hybrid regimes, with a particular focus on the role of the military, political parties, and identity in the processes of recruitment and selection of the political elite in Pakistan. She has published articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Comparative Politics, Politics and Governance and Journal of Women, Politics, and Policy. Apart from academic research, she has considerable policy-relevant consultancy experience, having authored monographs on democratic development, political parties and religious extremism for The Asia Foundation, Centre for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) and Department for International Development (DFID). Dr. Mufti has written over 25 articles for widely-read international newspapers, magazines and blogs on politics in South Asia. In keeping with her interest in undemocratic, hybrid regimes, she has also appeared in a 6-part series The Dictator’s Playbook on PBS (released in 2018).
Raza Rumi is a policy analyst, journalist and an author. He is Director, Department of Journalism at Ithaca College, New York. Rumi is also visiting faculty at Cornell Institute for Public Affairs. He has been a fellow at the New America Foundation, United States Institute of Peace and the National Endowment for Democracy. He is the editor of Naya Daur and frequently writes for leading English dailies of Pakistan. He has authored several books including Being Pakistani: Society, Culture and the Arts (2018) and Delhi by Heart (2013).
Karl Marx, a communist revolutionary, sociologist, historian, and economist was born on May 5, 1818 in Trier, Rhine province, Prussia. Also inspired by Hegel, Marx gave the philosophy of ‘Historical Materialism’, according to which, a person should view history dialectically, viewing the changes in material conditions as the means of influence on the society. In ‘The Condition of the Working Class in England’, ‘Communist Manifesto’ and ‘Das Kapital’, his views against capitalism found clear expression. Published in collaboration with his colleague Friedrich Engels, Marx differentiated communism from numerous other socialist movements in these books. He presented the struggle of the working class under the rule of the bourgeoisie and gave ideas for social reorganization and unification of the proletariat against capitalists. His strong views and ideas inspired communism and socialism, the two revolutionary theories which deeply affected the world socially, economically and politically. He died on March 14, 1883, in London, England.