Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tehelka's "Original Fictions :4"

Tehelka, though a news weekly, loves literature ( may be because Tarun Tejpal, its editor, is a literary writer himself) and every year devotes an issue to original fictions by Indian writers writing in English and other languages on a theme pre-determined by the weekly.

This year the theme is romance.

I started casually flipping through "The Foreigner" by Amitava Kumar, and was instantly hooked. Great style, odd but interesting characters, funky dialogue, and perfect story-telling. I had a sense of a well-crafted piece as I was done with the story.

I'm sorry I can't say the same things about any other story. Our Nabarun Bhattacharya, writer of that great short novel Herbert, under-delivered. He seems like a misfit in this group.

Then there were stories which were excerpts of soon-to-be published first novels by their writers. They read like crap. Not original in any way.

Finally, the editor of this issue should have been more careful in selecting the stories. After all, romance has not really disappeared from the surface of our world, and it can still touch our chord if the writer can work it the right way.

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