Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mo Yan on Marxism

What Marx wrote in the "The Communist Manifesto" was of great beauty. However, it seems to be very hard to make that dream come true. But then again, I look at those European, specifically Northern European, states and societies and wonder: Would these welfare states even be thinkable without Marx? We used to say in China that in a way Marxism has saved capitalism. Because those who benefited most from his ideology seem to be societies in the West. We Chinese, Russians and Eastern Europeans seem to have misunderstood Marxism.

Related
Mo Yan according to his translator

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Is Philip Roth the greatest living American novelist?

 Roth was never just a novelist to readers but an iconoclast and narcissist, a Jewish cultural hero (villain to some), a (probable) misogynist, a literary celebrity who folded his own life into novels like they were tabloids (or metafictions?) and, after Toni Morrison, our great American hope.

But is he the greatest living American novelist?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

George Saunders on his writing process

 For me, that process of taking a first draft and working with it over a period of months is EVERYTHING. That’s where a person finds out what he really means and (you could argue) who he really IS. So I suppose one danger is that we might get the idea that, you know, “to blurt, is to be.” The idea that whatever comes out is good and is us. Whereas someone who has really worked with text realizes - well, that neither one is “really” you, but that the considered version might represent a “higher” you - brighter, less willing to coast or condescend, funnier, and (mysteriously) also, I think, kinder.

Related
A conversation between George Saunders and his editor

Monday, February 18, 2013

Jerry Pinto bags The Hindu Literary Prize 2012

Journalist-author Jerry Pinto has bagged The Hindu Literary Prize 2012 for his novel Em and the Big Hoom.
I've not yet read any fiction by Jerry Pinto. But I have read his witty and hilarious columns, specially in the Statesman. He's a superb prose writer.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Haruki Murakami has a new novel in April | Believing in Fiction

New Murakami Novel
Literary giant Haruki Murakami is set to release his first novel in three years in April, publisher Bungeishunju Ltd. said.

Believing in Fiction
I have moments when my faith in fiction falters and thencomes to the edge of collapse. I find myself asking, “Am I really a believer?” And then, “Was I ever?” First to go are the disjointed, upended narratives of experimental fiction. Oh well ... Next, the virgin birth miracle of magical realism. But I was always Low Church on that one. It’s when the icy waters of skepticism start to rise round the skirts of realism herself that I know my long night has begun. All meaning has drained from the enterprise. Novels? I don’t know how or where to suspend my disbelief. What imaginary Henry said or did to nonexistent Sue, and Henry’s lonely childhood, his war, his divorce, his ecstasy and struggle with the truth and how he’s a mirror to the age—I don’t believe a word: not the rusty device of pretending that the weather has something to do with Henry’s mood, not the rusty device of pretending.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Lars Iyer interview

Both my manifesto and my novels are intended to foreground the difficulty of maintaining such a link between past and present, between neoliberal capitalism and European Modernism. For me, neoliberalism has deprived us of the conditions under which a certain literature – the literature, in particular, of Modernism – thrived. The vanguards have disappeared because there is no one in particular to offend. Literary fiction lives on, but it has become, for the most part, a kind of kitsch, depending on the most schematic ways of presenting character, plot, etc. – on a ‘realism’, a standardised system of representation, that is completely at one with the generic models of taste on which advertising and marketing depend.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Yan Lianke interview

I understand the Chinese political and cultural environment well. I understand people who don't use their voice. As an intellectual and author I should require myself to do it first. If I don't do enough, I can't require other authors to do so. There's always a reason. There's always one book or another; timing. But I think as an author I could have taken more responsibility and I didn't.
           Yan Lianke is one of the  Man Booker International Prize 2013 finalists. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Howard Jacobson quote

Friday, February 1, 2013

In support of Salman Rushdie

The literary and film community today came out in support of controversial author Salman Rushdie and blamed the West Bengal government for cancellation of his visit to the metropolis. 

My apology to Salman Rushdie. Kolkata is my city and I'm ashamed you were refused permission to visit it.The fact is Kolkata has long been stripped of its cultural and intellectual identity, and is now  totally messed up with politics(capital P). How strange that the powers-that-be have no problem with Amitav Ghosh, but they see red in whatever you do, say and write without having any sense or vision of a real writer. Sorry Salman, and my apology to you once again on behalf of the city which was once the cultural capital of India.. 

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