“People have very little else to say about fiction. They don’t know what handle to pick a book up by; and the only handle they can think to pick it up by is one that doesn’t even exist, and that’s the biographical handle. And that’s really another species of gossip. If you don’t allow them that handle to pick it up by, they’re mute. They’re silenced, they have nothing to say.”
Most Indian dailies and periodicals dodge Arundhati Roy, the Booker-winning novelist, for her strong anti-establishment voice. But the DNA, a relatively new daily, has published an interesting interview with her
Q:How far are you from finishing your second novel? A:Very far.
While a debate is now raging on about how Herta Mueller could be awarded the Nobel Prize for literature, signandsight.com publishes an excerpt from Herta Mueller's new novel "Everthing I Own I Carry With Me"
"Everything I have I carry with me. Or: everything that's mine I carry on me.
I carried everything I had. It wasn't actually mine. It was either intended for a different purpose or somebody else's. The pigskin suitcase was a gramophone box. The dust coat was from my father. The town coat with the velvet neckband from my grandfather. The breeches from my Uncle Edwin. The leather puttees from our neighbour, Herr Carp. The green gloves from my Auntie Fini. Only the claret silk scarf and the toilet bag were mine, gifts from recent Christmases. Read on ..
When Austria's Elfriede Jelinek was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 2004, most had asked, Jelinek who? The same question is now being asked about this year's winner German writer Herta Muller. Like Jelinek before the Nobel, she is an obscure, virtually unknown writer - even neglected in Romania, her own country.
One of the beauties of the Nobel Prize is that the Nobel Committee has almost always picked up a truly real writer for the Prize, irrespective of his/her country, language and popularity. Without the Nobel, we would have never known Elfiede Jelinek or Orhan Pamuk.
At a time when everything gets to be dumbed down - and lierature is being frowned on and cornered - it's truly a great job for the Nobel Committee to ignore the market forces in selecting its winner.
Jelinek impressed me hugely despite her bleak complexity. I hope I would also like Herta Muller who "depicts the landscape of the the dispossessed".
The 2009 Man Booker Prize to Hilary Mantel is sure to delight the fans of historical fiction. Wolf Hall is a narrative set in sixteenth century, and about the rise of Thomas Chromwell - the blacksmith boy who became Henry V111's right-hand man. Sure there are many takers for such stories, including our Booker judges, but literary fiction gets a jab this time. Watch out: historical fiction is coming back!
Tomorrow is the D-day. Of the six short-listed writers, only one will win the Man Booker Prize. And it's simply impossible to guess the winner. The prestigious Prize has been with us for forty years, and it's a big brand now - second only to the Nobel Prize. But you can always question about its selection process.