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Another reason scholars are drawn to the library is that the information is so accessible. “If you go to India, you’ll spend half your time negotiating just to get in,” Faust said.
Massey emphatically seconded that. After finishing her research in Minnesota, she went to Calcutta, where she was greeted with anything but open arms at the National Library of India.
“It was crazy,” she said. “I’d written them several times and gotten together every document I could think of, but they still wouldn’t let me in. Finally my cousin and my aunt — my aunt’s a real powerhouse — went with me and managed to convince them to give me a pass.”
She also went to London hoping to explore the India Office archives in the British Library. That turned out to be almost as difficult. “They finally let me in after I proved that I’d had a book published in Britain,” she said.
She isn’t done using the information she got in the Ames Library. While writing “The Sleeping Dictionary,” she realized that she had the makings of more books.
“Toward the end of working on the book, I felt very much like telling more about the other characters and what happens to them next,” she said. “I’m fascinated by Indian political history and the history of women in India. I’d love to do something combining those two.”
That most likely will involve even more trips to the Ames Library. “I love doing research,” she admitted.
Jeff Strickler • 612-673-7392