Month: October 2003

  • * Taking potshots at Martin Amis is a bit like shooting at balloons at a local fair–it’s ridiculously easy, it’s fun, and everyone’s doing it. Michiko Kakutani adds her mite: “Were Mr. Amis’s name not emblazoned on this book, it seems unlikely to have found a publisher. It reads not as a satire or dark […]

  • India may have been leading the pack in the race to warp the minds and hearts of a new generation of scholars, but it looks as though we have competition. Abdelwahab El-Affendi defines “the new Orientalism” in The Daily Star. “The new resurgent orientalism does not even put up the pretence of scholarly detachment or […]

  • “…[The] goons of the RSS-VHP-Bajrang Dal-BJP ilk have also displayed their love for living Indian culture by throwing rotten eggs and chairs on the stage; by slogan-shouting during performances; by cutting power-supply to the auditorium; and by forcing audiences into leaving, or performances into being cancelled. It is as if our acultural fundoos have taken […]

  • The Idiot’s Guide to Interviewing Jhumpa Lahiri: Blather on about how goodlooking she is, since of course that’s the most important aspect of her writing. Ask her the torn between two worlds question. And if you’re still stuck for a paragraph, ask how she deals with post-Pulitzer stress. Book Magazine, on the other hand, chose […]

  • Two recent book launches in Delhi, or, why The Babu is an embittered soul: Launch number one was Ashok Banker’s. Wherein Ashok, who uttered the immortal line, “You will never see my picture on Page Three” (Page Three being the wretched hell of the tits-and-Indian-ass city supplements) is hijacked by various Page Three photographers, who […]

  • “Given the dissonance between food fantasies and everyday eating, the birth of food porn was all but unavoidable.” Molly O’Neill wanted to be “an interpreter of everyday life”–instead she’s the “high priestess of a world that exists almost exclusively in the imagination”.

  • “Houellebecq, en fait – the first book-length study of its subject – is not a straightforward piece of literary analysis, but a jumble of articles, diary entries, letters (the two men are friends) and court documents. The book lacks structure, but not substance. It provides an eloquent defence of a controversial author and a window […]

  • The Babu needs a proofreader (defined as anyone who’s willing to catch his typos–he can’t offer a salary, but the previous incumbent in the job, ie his longsuffering partner, performed the necessary duties for a box of fresh-baked brownies every week…). Kitabkhana had mentioned a new publishing house, Zubaan, a while back on the blog: […]

  • Irene Pepperberg on “that damn bird” and the question of whether animals might be able to share a language with humans: “Researchers such as Pinker and I get along well because I never claim that Alex has full-blown language; I never would. I’m not going to be able to put Alex on a “T” stand […]

  • Peter Finlay’s going to be able to pay his debts–he’s just won the Booker. Dirty But Clean Pierre might get to keep about 9,000 pounds from the Booker prize cheque–he’s vowed to pay Robert Lenton, the friend he scammed and left homeless, 41,000 pounds. Vernon God Little: the first chapter…a review.