Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Of course, it's literary fiction: not the dull, stodgy kind, but an easy, fast-paced narrative. In it, though, I have handled such things as love, sex, art, urban life in post-globalisation India.
The book's cover is done by my artist-friend Basudev Ghosh.
Please read the book if you feel interested, and give me feedback, if you have time.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
The central idea that emerged, at least in my mind, was that the lack of critical response and debate, the total absence of criteria of what is good, bad, necessary, imitative, blatantly stolen, fresh, redeeming, skilful, pioneering etc will give us a consumer industry in books but no 'culture' of literature.
Dhondi further writes:
The Colonel Sanders and the Ronald McDonalds of the Indian literary scene can be seen at all all the litfests peddling their goods and there is no one, literally no one, to discuss, raise the questions or debate the nourishment or debilitating obesity therein.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
KD Your books often refer to a mix of languages. You quote Iqbal and Byron in Clear Light of Day. In Custody is about Hindi and Urdu. You quote a lot of literature in all your novels, mingle it with every geography.
AD Yes, I always give myself away! Well, Urdu was what we heard spoken in Delhi, and it was spoken very beautifully in those days. Then there were the books we bought for ourselves. My father would read Byron and occasionally he would burst out and recite snatches of what he remembered from his schooldays, Byron, Swinburne, Browning, the same scraps over and over again. Oddly enough, he never brought Bengali music into the house, which was such a pity. But perhaps because he came from a political family – he had a soft spot for communism – he loved Russian music. I remember hearing "The Song of the Volga Boatmen" played and played on our gramophone, thinking it so oppressive and dreary. Oma brought back a piano with her, had whole albums of Beethoven and Brahms, Schubert lieder and also her German library, beautifully embossed leather books in the old German script. When my father died and she left Delhi, she gave her books to the library of Delhi University, which had a German department.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Friday, November 4, 2011
Hanan al-Shaykh interview
“In the West they need to label you to understand what you do. I tell [Westerners] that all those tags have become a real burden to me. I also tell them not to pigeonhole everybody. This is racism.”
Thursday, October 27, 2011
- "And when, after 900 pages of crepuscular sex scenes alternated with sentimental thoughts about adolescent sexuality, the novel turns out to be a shaggy dog story, it no longer seems a guilty pleasure but instead a tremendous waste of the reader’s time."
- "1Q84 is the only of Murakami’s translated works that’s ever struck me as overwritten. There’s a lot of internal monologue that simply revisits events and dialogue that have already transpired, that attempts to explain subtext or analyze weird happenings that we’re better off left to engage with on our own. Yet it would be wrong to assume that this ambitious novel’s flaws emerge from what might be deemed as padding or a lack of focus on the narrative core; the more 1Q84 strays from its ostensible plot the better it gets."
- "You tend to forget the books the moment you finish them, and this is no less true after an immense production like "1Q84." It floats in a globalized ether. His literary forebears also peered into the abyss of lost identity, but they stood on the hard ground of venerable tradition. Mr. Murakami's books are wrapped in a cocoon—or an air chrysalis—of cultural amnesia. It's one last paradox: They are themselves too empty to say anything meaningful about emptiness.
- Murakami really does stand alone, as much a "foreign element" as his heroes: a sport, an outlier, sui generis, inimitable, if often imitated. Which other author can remind you simultaneously of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and JK Rowling, not merely within the same chapter but on the same page? Viewed through the "postmodern" lens, his exemplary blend of a light touch and weighty themes, of high literature and popular entertainment, ticks every box. Posh and pop, sublimity and superficiality, history and fantasy, trash and transcendence: they switch positions and then fuse as the metaphysical speculations of an Ivan Karamazov meet the death-defying adventures of a Harry Potter.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
My translator-friend, V. Ramaswamy, himself a Murakami fan, sends me a link to a recent Murakami interview.
By sheer coincidence, though, I'm now reading Kafka on the Shore. I feel addicted to a novel - after a long time. It's a real page-turner,and no cheap material in spite of lots of sex. In fact, I'm having a great time with Kafka, Nakata, Colonel Sanders, Oshima and Hoshino. These characters, not the plot, drive the novel. They are not very real but not unreal either. Hegel, Rousseau, Beethoven, Mozart all pop up during your reading journey, and they help you glean insights about the characters and the life you live. Add to it the dollops of humour that Nakata provides through his naivete and "not being bright'. Murakami is not only a seasoned pro, he is also a writer of huge intellectual capacities.
I also read an old Haruki Murakami interview published in the Paris Review to know about the novelist and his art of fiction.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Thursday, September 8, 2011
His 500 -page book is being released this week. A whopping advance( $665000), rave reviews even before the publication, excerpts in a popular magazine, authors like Franzen showering praise on the debut author, and the usual hypes that the publishing business embellish their blue-eyed boys with. The mammoth publicity machine is already at work, touting him as the rare hitter of contemporary fiction.
As ever, I have my doubts. Note the title of the book is "The Art of Fielding". Sounds atrocious as a fiction title. No play of imagination. Then it's about baseball. I don't want to mean that there can't be a good literary(?) novel about baseball. But it's somewhat repulsive for me.
Nevertheless, I find Chad a bit intriguing too. He seems kind of awkward, polite, candid, and even authentic in this interview. May be he's a real writer.
Before I sold this book I was kind of pretending I had money by spending so much time by working on N+1 and writing when I didn't have any money at all. I was kind of just barely...well, I was actually in a pretty dire financial situation. The point is I was devoting an awful lot of time to the magazine and I didn't actually have the luxury to do that.
I should have been working at a job that paid me money because I did not have any money. So after I sold the book, it wasn't hard to think about how I am going to spend my free time when I'm not working because I had this book to edit and I already had all this work I was doing for the magazine which I don't get paid for but have been doing anyway. But now I can do it without being kind of anxious the whole time. So it has changed my life in that I'm less persistently anxious.
Friday, September 2, 2011
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Whenever I write a novel, I have a strong sense that I am doing something I was unable to do before. With each new work, I move up a step and discover something new inside me. I don’t see this novel as a departure, but I do think it has been a major step in my career. Formally speaking, this is the first full-length novel I have written from beginning to end in the third person.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Former Penguin Canada president David Davidar left Canada under a particularly dark cloud early this year. But somewhere over the Atlantic, that cloud dissipated, and he landed here to an open-armed welcome. He has resumed his place at the top of the flourishing Indian literary world, and that nasty allegation of sexual harassment in the (other) colonies is yesterday’s news.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
--Bei Dao,the Chinese poet at the opening ceremony of the festival in Xining,
Friday, August 12, 2011
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
"We push literature without borders and we try to push material with some kind of social dimension to it. It’s not art for art’s sake.”
Friday, July 8, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
Shishkin: Well he stands beside me and likes everything I like. And hates what I hate. The risk with this is that you are left alone with your ideal reader. But I was lucky enough to have lots of real readers in Russia, in my homeland. The prizes are great, so are the stage adaptations, but the most important thing for me was meeting my real readers in the provinces. A year ago I went on a reading tour through the small towns of the Vologda region, a hotbed of small-town mentality. It was a gathering for provincial intelligence: teachers, apothecaries, librarians. And they all had my books on them and were talking about how important they were for them. I found it very moving. The role and importance of literature in Russia is hard to compare with any other country in the world. Reading in Russia is a struggle for self-preservation, for maintaining human dignity in the face of degrading political reality.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
"I could never write a history book in disguise really because..because I am a novelist. I am a writer of fiction. That's what I do. To write history is a very particular thing. It calls for specific talents, which are not ma talents, you know. It's not something that can happen. First and foremost, I'm a storyteller."
I have no problem in admitting that he's an astute storyteller. But is the stuff that Ghosh has been churning out for some years now can really be called literature?
Sunday, June 19, 2011
It is about a metamorphosed society dominated by terror.
Franz Kafka foresaw the emergence of a capitalistic society in his times, and quite prophetically imagined the condition of common man under the new system.
"Even in those days wonders did not openly walk the streets for any one to seize; but all the same dogs - I cannot put any other way- had not yet become so doggish as today, the edifice of dogdom was still loosely put together, the true Word could still have intervened, planning or replanning the structure, changing at will, transforming it into the opposite; and the Word was there, was very near at least, on the tip of everybody's tongue, anyone might have hit upon it. And what has become of today? Today one may pluck one's very heart and not find it. Our generation is lost, it may be, but it is more harmless than those earlier ones. I can understand the hesitation of my generation, indeed it is no longer mere hesitation; it is the thousandth forgetting of a dream dreamt a thousand times and forgotten a thousand times; and who can damn us merely for forgetting for the thousandth time?"
Friday, June 17, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
To some extent, publishers are sheep. I honestly think they don't know what they want until somebody else wants it too. Don't get me wrong, I know many creative and brilliant publishers who discover great new things all the time, but it is nevertheless always very helpful if something comes to them already endorsed, either by a prize such as this, or else a quote from someone like Martin Amis telling them how great it is. Anything, really, to convince them of its worth before they have even read a word.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Friday, May 27, 2011
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
stories which don't tax readers. There is room for fun and escapism in the act of
reading, sure. But the job of the writer is to do more than simply entertain."
Aminatta Forna has won the 2011 Commonwealth Writers' Prize.
Friday, May 20, 2011
A: Well, first it’s an homage to the Austrian novelist Thomas Bernhard, who influenced me. I also liked the idea of it visually: when you look at the pages, everything is covered with words. I think writing should be a process of discovery, both for the reader and the writer who should become united in trying to get through this labyrinth. You have to fight with this form to reach the end. Not all readers like it, I’m aware. But I simply don’t want to give up on it.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
"For more than 50 years Philip Roth's books have stimulated, provoked
and amused an enormous, and still expanding, audience. His imagination has not only recast our idea of Jewish identity, it has also reanimated fiction, and not just American fiction, generally."
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
- Tahmina Anam
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Friday, May 6, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
A:I think that writers' careers don't go in a straight line, they go in loops. You go back and forth. I've written books about India and then not about India. Then, everybody said you stopped writing about India and then the next book was about India. Then, people said, Oh, you are going to write about India all the time, and the book after it wasn't about it. So you know writers' imagination goes backward and forth and doesn't stick at one place.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Anjum Hasan, novelist and Books editor, has an interesting article in Tehelka newsmagazine.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
William Trevor, one of world's finest writers, is interviewed at Irishtimes.com
Sunday, April 10, 2011
In my recent read, I find the novel a bit mushy, and not as good as Haruki's other works. May be this was his debut novel - which made him famous, though - and he was still trying to find his own voice and style.
NW has plenty of sex scenes which seem like the printed version of yesterday's blue films, but the thing that astounds me is that they look like natural in the setting of the narrative involving an adolescent and his friends. There is not much you can complain against the writer because he writes it as convincingly as it happens in real life. Kind of new reading experience for me.
The narrative is not that strong: Nagasawa is womaniser and careerist without any sense of morality, Hatsumi and Midori are regular girls aspiring for happy conjugal life. Naoko is a bit incredible as a character who,like her former boy-friend Kizuki, commits suicide in the end. Her long relaionship with Watanabe has not exactly got to a logical end and the readers are not given any clue about her exact illness.
The best portrayed character is Reiko. And she actually saves the novel.
Friday, April 8, 2011
The certainty that all is going to be all right since one was serving this noble cause.the thought of being a writer - there's a kind of purity, a blessing, and I'm trying to define this thing about being a writer. This sums it up quite well. It gets the solitude, the touch of aggression and it also makes clear why people don't always like young men who are writers - not always attractive, because unhappy a lot of them, unfulfilled. I used to suffer from rages during this period. In public. But that was a passing phase.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
A:Well, when I started writing, in high school, I had a manual typewriter. And then I had an electric typewriter. So in those years, writing by hand was the most flexible way to go. By the time I started using a computer, halfway through college, I was used to handwriting my fiction. I did write stories on a computer for a year or two, but then I drifted back to my old ways. The bottom line is that I like my first drafts to be blind, unconscious, messy efforts; that’s what gets me the best material.And there’s no way for me to achieve that effect while staring at every word I write in typeface. So I’m led, inevitably, back to the legal pads, and ord I write in typeface. So I’m led, inevitably, back to the legal pads, and my illegible scrawl. It isn’t so much that I don’t reread as that I can’t, without serious effort.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
It is the relentless onward march of the texters, the SMS (Short Message Service) vandals who are doing to our language what Genghis Khan did to his neighbours eight hundred years ago.
They are destroying it: pillaging our punctuation; savaging our sentences; raping our vocabulary. And they must be stopped.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Sunday, March 13, 2011
The thirtieth anniversary of the novel is being celebrated now.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
In Guernica,Amitav Kumar interviews Arundhati Roy.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
A:I don't have empirical data on the matter. I can, however, speak for myself. I returned because I had no money. In any event, there's no place like home. I love Karachi. It's a wonderfully animate city. There are people on the beach at two in morning, traffic at three. You can have breakfast at four – halva, puri – and nihari at five. Moreover, as a writer I wouldn't want to be elsewhere for long. There's a story under every stone.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
I find it among people. I find it in tiny rooms and in passenger terminals, in dreams, in books, and in experiences from the past that are the poetry of memories. I find it among the streets in which I grew up. I find it in my senses. Imagination is the extension of experience.
-Lars Saabye Christensen,Norwegian novelist
I don't know. What I know is that there is a certain way of life I have to live in order to be able to write the best I can. It doesn't mean only having enough free time and space, but also trying to avoid everyday stereotypes, traveling, doing adventurous things, experiencing uncertainty. That is what I need. My mind is what matters. Topics and material then come by themselves.
-Petra Hulova,Czech writer
In life, in my memories, in family history, friends' stories, textbooks, newspapers, television, documents, archives. I think it depends more on how you look at things than on the things themselves.
-Jenny Erpenbeck, German writer
Monday, February 14, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
"Nature makes me happy, even though I live in the city, deliberately; I don't think I have the inner resources to live alone in the country. I wish I knew more about music. I listen to classical music, and sometimes I am bestirred, but language is my first love in the arts, and then painting. I love paintings."
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Of course, it's from a story of an Indian daily's culture page, done by a literary savvy scribe. Take note of the tone of the writer. He seems to take great delight in reporting Dalrymple's trick, new influx of 'babalogs and Beautiful People'(who never read literature) in the book events, and glamorous book lunches.
Alas, this sums up the literary scenario in India and elsewhere, courtesy the new culture that free market economy has fostered. Literature is now touted as gliterature. Would you laugh or worry?
Friday, January 28, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
It is not for nothing that over the recent past, Dalrymple has been in conversation with authors as diverse as Tishani Doshi (though a romance linking Wales and Gujarat is perhaps a fit setting for him) and Sonia Faleiro (what could Dalrymple have to contribute to the Bar Girls of Bombay?; on the evidence of the evening, not much). Symbols matter, and if Dalrymple appears central to our literary culture, it says something far more damaging about us than about him.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
From Jaipur to Kolkata, this is the season of literary festivals all across India. I know no one better to give a low-down on them than Bachi Karkaria, that fabulous columnist, with her cutting wit and humour.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Sunday, January 9, 2011
The Murakami book that I just finished was After the Quake, a collection of six short stories. I read one story a day, and though I was tempted to begin the next one, I decidedly held back. Each story had its resonance, and I needed to live it in full. For three stories, I jotted down my impressions there and then.
Thailand: A wonderful story about man-woman relationship in today's hectic world. The metaphor of polar bears is just as apt and brilliant.
All God's Children Can Dance: It's about a young man who seeks his biological father in vain. Offers great insights into religion (Christianity) and sexuality.
Super-Frog Saves Tokyo: An amazing story of Katagiri, an average Japanese ("All I do is eat, sleep and shit"), who fought his battle - not in real terms though - to save his beloved city from an earthquake.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Yet writing, that noblest of tasks, painful and frustrating at times, easy-flowing at others, a never-ending quest for the soul of wit and honesty, wherein one aspires only to say what it is one has to say, and to get it right—that is my true joy, and the only act which gives me any sense of peace in this bumpy journey we call existence.