Portrait of an author: Siddhartha Mukherjee

Siddhartha Mukherjee is an author, cancer physician and researcher


Siddhartha Mukherjee.
Siddhartha Mukherjee.

Siddhartha Mukherjee

Author, cancer physician and researcher

Last published: ‘The Gene: An Intimate History’

We need a manifesto—or at least a hitchhiker’s guide—for a post-genomic world. The historian Tony Judt once told me that Albert Camus’s novel The Plague was about the plague in the same sense that King Lear is about a king named Lear. In The Plague, a biological cataclysm becomes the testing ground for our fallibilities, desires, and ambitions. You cannot read The Plague except as a thinly disguised allegory of human nature. The genome is also a testing ground for our fallibilities and desires, although reading it does not require understanding allegories or metaphors. What we read and write into our genome is our fallibilities, desires, and ambitions. It is human nature.

— From The Gene: An Intimate History (Allen Lane, 2016)

A 12-part series of portraits selected for Lounge by Rohit Chawla, who has photographed over 200 authors at the Jaipur Literature Festival over a decade.

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