Sunday, April 24, 2011

What made Midnight's Children?

" Midnight’s Children today is a strange experience. The book has a breathtakingly transcendental playfulness, but one also discovers in it weird echoes of an unborn future with references, for example, to “Muhammad (on whose name be peace, let me add: I don’t want to offend anyone)” and to a wife eerily named Padma (“a consolation for my last days”). Reading it today one wonders about the enormous risk that Rushdie took, investing five years of his life on writing this seemingly self-indulgent novel, crammed with India-specific cultural references that the Western reader would never entirely catch."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Writers with vocal chords!

Having learnt about Franz Kafka’s petrifaction and Philip Larkin’s diffidence about reading in public, I’ve always assumed writing and reading must be judged independently. Having seen Orhan Pamuk display, as a speaker, a teacherly style that sits oddly with the lyricism of his prose or heard the seemingly stone-hearted VS Naipaul confess that listening to other people read aloud from his work moves him to tears, I’ve realised that writers as people of flesh, blood and vocal chords are not to be measured exactly against writers as people we encounter in print..

Anjum Hasan, novelist and Books editor, has an interesting article in Tehelka newsmagazine.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

William Trevor interview

I think the bond between the writer and the reader is very important. One writes the story; that is the writer’s part done. Then the reader gets to work; reading is his job. I have always enjoyed that connection with the reader I haven’t met but feel I know because of having shared an experience: the story.

William Trevor, one of world's finest writers, is interviewed at

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Reading: Norwegian Wood/ Haruki Murakami

Who is the best and most interesting character in Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood? Naoko, Midori, Reiko? Nagasawa,Kizuki, Hatsumi? Watanabe himself?

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

V.S Naipaul interview

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

Jennifer Egan interview

Q:There’s been a lot said about your writing process — writing on yellow legal pads without re-reading a word until you start feeding the words into the computer. How did that method evolve for you?

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.

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