The Indian market for books in English by Indian writers back home is limited–a bestseller shifts 3,000 copies (up from 1,000, which was the benchmark a few years ago), a blockbuster does 10,000. Perhaps that’s why Jhumpa Lahiri’s publicist can turn down interview requests from Indian reporters with a dismissive comment to the effect that the book “hasn’t even been launched in India yet”. Rediff got a few soundbytes, though.
Lahiri has let it be known that the criticism Interpreter of Maladies received in India was unwelcome, but hey, us natives are being ornery all over again. “To shut out ‘native’ interest seems like creating a new ghetto: that of the Non-South Asians’ South Asian Writer.”
“Mr. King, you, of course, are blameless. The people who have given you this prestigious award are the ones betraying literature. But they have cast the die. Only you can throw it back at them.” J Peder Zane on why Stephen King should turn down the National Book Foundation award. (Via Maud Newton.)
After a longish gap, it’s good to see a piece by Aveek Sen again. Here he is on the story-wives whose tales fed the imaginations of the Brothers Grimm. “These then are the households of Reformation Europe — the Europe of the German Faustbuch, of Dürer’s woodcuts, engravings and etchings, of Breugel’s paintings teeming with beggars, cripples, lepers, thieves, fools, idiots and ordinary men, women and children, who live out proverbs, parables, sermons, allegories, games and festivities.”