Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mohsin Hamid’s talk about The Reluctant Fundamentalist

"As a novelist, I think of both my books as ‘buildings of the mind’. It is not my job to design a journey that has set junctions. The reader should be able to go wherever they want; whenever they want within the premise I have created. I like that fluidity."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Khushwant Singh interview

In the Outlook magazine, Sheela Reddy has an interesting interview with Khushwant Singh, India's dirty old man.

I’ve no idea how many of them will be read after I’m gone. I’ve done serious books like history and translations from the scriptures, translations from Urdu poetry and short stories from other languages. But what will last, I’ve no idea. As Hillaire Belloc said: “I hope when I’m dead it will be said/ his sins were scarlet/ but his books were read.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hans Keilson is 101

"My work is being rediscovered. What is odd is that I am still alive while that's happening."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mario Vargas Llosa: my reading experience

Every year the Nobel Prize spurs me on to read (or reread) one or two imporatant works of the new Nobel Laureate. I’ve never read MarioVergas Llosa before, andI thought it was time to catch up on his novels.

The first novel I picked up - not by anybody’s recommendation, but from its unique title – was The Feast of the Goat . A 475-page,almost daunting tome.

But what an easy read! Meticulously researched, well-crafted. Spiced with lots of sex. Racy style. It’s about Rafel Trujillo, the despot of the Dominician Republic, and centres around his ssassination. It’s also about Urania Cabral, who was violated by Trujillo when she was just sixteen year old.

Mario Vargas Llosa depicts Trujillo as a man with rarified intelligence and refined tastes, even with a penchant for Pablo Neruda poems. Not very convincing for a paranoid who kills his enemies, real and perceived,at the drop pf a hat.

Half way through the novel, I found my interest flagging, but I was curious about the depiction of the ultimate scene where the debauchee would violate Urania, who was sent as a gift by her father, an onetime trusted aide of Trujillo, to win back his chief’s favour. The scene had one obvious thing missing. Urania’s mother was Trujillo’s most favourite woman, and he often boasted to his close aides that hers was the best cunt he ever enjoyed. But on this occasion, Trujillo never for a moment thinks of Urania as daughter of somone who aroused him in a big way and feels any exra excitement . Was Trujillo devoid of memory? Of course, these things matter little in the blockbuster plot of the novel. Then when he fails to have sex due to his prostate problem, the way he breakes her “cherry” – with a nail of his finger – is hugely repugnant.

Where is literature in all of these ghastly details? I don’t find any thing of value, or edifying in this kind of cartography.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Vinod Mehta on why he publishes Arundhati Roy so often

Arundhati Roy? Thirty-three pages and all. It is an honour and a privilege to have her byline in the magazine. I don’t agree with every word she writes, but by and large, Outlook and Arundhati are on the same page. Incidentally, I find her bitterest critics are the ones who read her most avidly.

Search This Blog

My Blog List