Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Elena Ferrante's idea of a book minus the author in person

" Once I knew that the completed book would make its journey without being accompanied by my physical person, once I knew that nothing of the concrete, definite individual that is me would ever appear beside the volume—as if the book were a little dog and I were its master—it illuminated for me an aspect of writing that was obvious, but which I had never thought of. I felt as though I had released the words from myself."

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Zadie Smith's "non-memory"

"I realize I don’t want any record of my days. I have the kind of brain that erases everything that passes, almost immediately, like that dustpan-and-brush dog in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland sweeping up the path as he progresses along it. I never know what I was doing on what date, or how old I was when this or that happened—and I like it that way. I feel when I am very old and my brain “goes” it won’t feel so very different from the life I live now, in this miasma of non-memory, which, though it infuriates my nearest and dearest, must suit me somehow, as I can’t seem, even by acts of will, to change it."

Monday, February 16, 2015

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Jonathan Franzen on Jennifer Weiner

 "She is asking for a respect that not just male reviewers, but female reviewers, don’t think her work merits. To me it seems she’s freeloading on the legitimate problem of gender bias in the canon, and over the years in the major review organs, to promote herself, basically.  And that seems like a dubious project that is ideally suited to social media, where you don’t actually have to argue, you just tweet. Where is her long essay about this, where she really makes a case? She has no case. So she tweets."

Monday, February 9, 2015

Salman Rushdie after Midnight's Children

 "Mr. Rushdie’s works after Midnight’s Children lack literary merit."
--Bhalchandra Nemade, Jnanpith award-winning Marathi writer

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Kolkata Book Fair, 2015

Milan Mela where Kolkata Book Fair is now held these days, is about two hours' drive from where I live, and this is the major reason why I've stopped visiting the fair now. But I went to the fair this year. But it was more business than as a book lover. Gangchil, an independent publisher with some repute, was bringing out a book - a memoir - by one of my relatives, and I was somehow involved with the project by way of editing it, writing its blurb, and even choosing its title. Adhir Biswas, the publisher, who I've known since long, generously approved all I did. He launched the book in the book fair, and naturally invited me to visit his stall.

The book is called Jhineda, Shyambazar ebong Chhappanna Bachhar / Chhaya De.

I spent about an hour in Gangchil, browsing myriad titles Adhir had published over the years. Though a fiction-writer himself, he publishes mainly non-fiction, even by new, unknown authors. I was mortified to hear from him that Bengali fiction doesn't sell at all. Interestingly, however, he has published four volumes of short stories, novels, essays by Subimal Misra, the cult writer of Bengali literature. Does he sell? Yes, Adhir said, we have had even second editions of some of these volumes.

While browsing, I came across a hefty little mag called Bagher Bachcha which devotes all of its pages on Subimal Misra: an excellent compilation of Misra's own work, interviews, reviews, essays by writers, academicians and intellectuals - among them V. Ramaswamy(Misra's English translator) and Janam Mukherjee, the historian, with whom I've discussed Misra on many occasions.

Sadly, there's a page in the mag where there's a hand-written message from Subimal Misra : I'm physically unwell. It's not possible for me to write anything new.

Search This Blog