Yellow Dog reviews, or What Do You Know, Tibor Fischer Has Company:

“It reads like the work of a less talented, less funny Martin Amis imitator.

“Whatever the literary equivalent of junk-food appeal may be – fatty, salty, addictive – [Amis] is the master of it.”

“Yellow Dog is…a disaster.”

“The fact that Yellow Dog is so bad is not a cause for celebration. Anyone interested in English fiction will be deeply saddened to see one of our country’s greatest talents produce such a purposeless novel.”

Philip Hensher is kinder: “These stories, not just non-literary but anti-literary, are evidently things he feels deeply, judging by his comments in Experience, and it must be all but impossible to write against the barrage of abuse and the ceaseless public commentary on his private life.” This doesn’t prevent him from searching for flotsam to rescue from “the wreck” of the book.

Or, as The Guardian said in the digested read…digested: Yellow Doggybollox.

On the other hand, Jhumpa Lahiri’s having a good Kakutani day: “It is a novel about two generations of the Ganguli family, and at the same time it is a novel about exile and its discontents, a novel that is as affecting in its Chekhovian exploration of fathers and sons, parents and children, as it is resonant in its exploration of what is acquired and lost by immigrants and their children in pursuit of the American Dream.” Michiko gives The Namesake an enthusiastic thumbs-up.

The politics of language in India: how the West Bengal government’s no-English policy plays out in grim reality, and Why Pundits Should Not Be Called Ponga.

Chinua Achebe must not be taught in schools–he could “corrupt the morals of the youth”. In yet another instance of morality madness, a Church-sponsored lobby in Kenya insists that Achebe is…pornographic. Not a description the Babu has ever thought to apply to the writer, but then clearly he isn’t a Parents Caucus.

The Babu’s been distracted by work and other things foul recently–apologies for missing out on the controversy over Iris Murdoch’s biographers. Now A N Wilson explains his “anti-biography”.

To tell the truth, he was too busy reading new stories by Ali Smith and Denise Mina to care. Save Our Short Story is right this way. (Link found on Maud Newton, bless her heart.)

He was also splitting his sides reading Geoffrey Wheatcroft on 9/11 and the wittering of writers: “After an event like 11th September, such expressive gifts might be more hindrance than help; some things are best said simply rather than dressed up in look-at-me prose. Arundhati Roy claimed that it is “the writers, the poets, the artists, the singers, the filmmakers who can make the connections, who can find ways of bringing [the event] into the realm of common understanding”; the evidence suggested the opposite.” (Link from 2Blowhards.)





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