Friday, June 29, 2007

Nobel for Amitav Ghosh?

As a writer, sometimes I feel that I don't know what something is till I have put words to it. This is especially so nowadays when we are bombarded by visuals and images.

Amitav Ghosh gets the prestigiousGrinzane Cavour International prize
for a life dedicated to literature this year. Now,the popular perception is that every recipient of this award subsequently goes on to win the Nobel Prize for literature. Think of Nadine Gordimer, J M Coetzee, Wole Soyinka, Gunter Grass and V S Naipul who all received this award before their Nobel.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thomas Pynchon

Let me confess: I've never read any Pynchon book, but continuously read a lot of stuff about him. As an idiosyncratic novelist who does not observe any rule of writing, who does not care about his readership, and who is reclusive in the real sense of the term, Pynchon is simply irresistible to me. In his
review in VQR William Logan has some interesting observations:

Intelligence makes Against the Day bearable, though everywhere it creates its own rules, undermines its own gravitas; in this it already satisfies the first condition of a classic: a novel we appreciate because of its flaws (the second condition is longevity). As an artist of paranoia, that American state of mind occupying the space between New York and California, Pynchon is the comic opposite of Kafka, whose Weltanschauung he otherwise embraces—a world of conspiracy and liminal terror, of shadow worlds that lie beneath real ones. Paranoia is the limiting climate in fiction, as depression is the limiting climate in depressives—if everything is a conspiracy, there’s no getting to the bottom of it, because fiction is a conspiracy of conspiracies, where a wizard, or a bunco man, always stands behind the curtain.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Publishing today

..publishing has dumbed itself down. Marketing departments, not editors, rule the roost...When lowest common denominator logic dictates editorial policy, bookshops fill up with literary equivalent of Athena posters.

Tom McCarthy writes about his publishing experience on Timesonline.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sir Salman Rushdie

I am thrilled and humbled to receive this great honor..: Salman Rushdie on receiving British Knighthood this year.

What is there to be so much thrilled about it,Mr.Rushdie? You may think it's a new feather to your cap, but it's actually a reward for your services to the cause of neo-liberal forces. Shame!

Monday, June 18, 2007

One Hundred Years of Solitude: 40th birthday celebration

" decodes the DNA of Hispanic civilization. It is a "total" novel, designed by a demiurge capable of creating a universe as comprehensive as ours. One Hundred Years of Solitude has done something astonishing. It has survived, accumulating disparate, at times conflicting rereadings."

Ilan Stavans, a teacher of litearature, writes about his current reading experience of OHYOS in an
  • article
  • Sunday, June 17, 2007

    Fiction & Reality

    It's a risky business to write novels, because you're working with your life, and the lives of people that live around you.

    Javier Cercas, Spain's foremost patroller of the border between fiction and reality, offers some interesting, though not new, views about fiction writing in a Guardian interview
  • here
  • Thursday, June 14, 2007

    Chinua Achebe

    An excerpt from an interview with Chinua Achebe who gets Man International Booker award this year.

    "My instinct is to talk about politics in my work and that is your instinct too. That is the sense in which Come Sunday, too, is a very powerful story. An effective, powerful and moving depiction of the modern world with its politics in all its various dimensions. One should not attempt to avoid that because of this superstition that politics somehow is inimical to art. There are some who cannot manage politics in their fiction, so let them not . But they must not insist that everybody else must avoid politics because of some superstition built up in recent times that defines art as only personal, introspective, away from the public arena. That's nonsense. Fiction in the West has suffered in recent times by that limitation. When I see a book like yours which is grappling with the big issues -- violence, injustice, victimization -- that also has the scope of the whole world, that goes from the center to the periphery and back, that's great. It's difficult to do, but difficulty is no reason not to do it."

    "The emperor would prefer the poet to keep away from politics, the emperor's domain, so that he can manage things the way he likes. When the poet is pleased to do that, the emperor is happy and will pay him money to stay within his aesthetic domain. But you and I don't have to agree with the emperor. We have to say no. Our business involves the peace, happiness and harmony of not just people but the planet itself, the environment. How we live in the world is extremely important. How we see our relationship with the environment is important. If we see it in terms of conquest, if we go out and conquer Mount Everest, what are we doing? Even the language becomes significant. If somebody climbs a mountain, they conquer it"

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