We had fun reading about the person who “wretches” in a plane toilet, in Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, but now it seems it was the fault of a flunky who opened the wrong file. If you’re into book collecting and you have a typo-strewn edition of the book, hang on to it–it should be worth something in another 15 years.
Courtesy a professor in Delhi and Robert Fulford, the Babu has two new phrases to mull over: cyber-coolie and Exploitation Police.
“A culture is the sum of the exterior influences which have enriched it,” he continues. “Writers of Indian or Pakistani descent now revitalise the English novel. But in France, when I wrote Landscapes after the Battle in 1982, editors went apopletic when I dared imagine a Paris with the street signs in Arabic. But a culture which doesn’t accept enrichment from marginal cultures is doomed.” Gerry Feehily meets Juan Goytisolo in Marrakesh.
Jonathan Yardley on Living To Tell The Tale: “This book is not a work of fiction — the author researched his own life with great care, drawing on extensive recollections of family and friends, though with García Márquez one never knows where fact ends and fiction begins, or vice versa — but it has the narrative force of a novel and, even more to the point, the beguilingly labyrinthine structure of a novel by the master.”
“It felt like a mistake the first time, so this time it’s obviously a mistake,” said M G Vassanji. He’s just won the Giller–for the second time.
“Even the author of a book showing modest to decent sales will likely end up in a Barnes and Noble in Berkeley with only three audience members, two of whom are homeless.” Sara Nelson on the unbearable lightness of book tours. Neal Pollack disagrees, in the MobyLives letters section.
Irresistible Quote of the Week: There are two ways in which to say that Prince Charles was present at the opening shot of a Hindi film. The careful way: “‘The Rising, take one, start,’ Charles said yesterday as he snapped shut a clapperboard to set the camera rolling on the set of the film at a five-star hotel in Mumbai, home of the Hindi film industry.” (From The Star.) And the Prince who passed on a social disease way: “Prince Charles gives the clap to the mahurat shot of Ketan Mehta’s The Rising…” (From The Times of India.)
“I do like the idea of there not being any design on the book jacket and just reading every book in the same font. I do think fonts influence the way you read things. Some books by young women who are very talented—the fonts that are chosen are not the best fonts, they are too frilly, and they make you not look at the writing as seriously as the writer intended but not that the font suggests.” Robert Birnbaum interviews Vendela Vida, who has plenty of other considered opinions to share.
Like this one: “In the literary world there is too much talking about —this has been said before—talking about reviews of books than about the books. Or they read the reviews more than they do the book. Or there is more talk about the author within the context of their friends.” The Babu, not as well up on literary gossip as you may have imagined, puzzled over that phrase–“within the context of their friends”–before a more knowledgeable source informed him that Vida’s husband is Dave Eggers. Whatever. What he’s really trying to figure out is how everyone at The Believer manages to sound defensive and smug at the same time. It’s a minor art form.