Month: July 2004

  • The Borrowers

    “At 2.30 pm on a working day, the only sound in India’s most expensive and best-equipped library—an architectural milestone by Raj Rawal—is of the vacuum cleaner being run with unsarkari thoroughness over the sandstone walls and ceiling. The steady overpowering din, like that at a construction site, does not disturb the readers for a good […]

  • A conversation with hate

    Seminar has an excerpt from Amitava Kumar’s soon-to-be-published Husband of a Fanatic (link courtesy Poorvi Vora and others on Sasialit): “The apartment, with the sunlight falling on the bulky white furniture, some of it covered with transparent plastic, appeared clean and bright, especially after the darkness of the corridor outside with its musty carpeting. I […]

  • Will Post-Its saying ‘Out of Cat Litter’ do?

    “…Joyce’s lustful outpourings were being treated by critics as if they were some kind of preparation for Ulysses, a work once unpublishable because of its representation of sex, masturbation, defecation and the rest. We do not have Nora’s side of the correspondence, though this played what might be called an active part in Joyce’s epistolary […]

  • Ruth among the alien corn

    The Independent reviews Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s Nine Lives: “It is enticing to try and glimpse the real author through the fiction woven around the facts of her life. In all the stories there is a narrator: a young woman who may be a poet, writer or translator, whom Prawer Jhabvala admits is herself. She often […]

  • The Salman Rushdie Special…

    It’s not Mohja, but it’s good. From Michael Muhammad Knight’s The Taqwacores, excerpted on Muslim Wake-Up!: “Lynn, the Muslimah-gone-wrong; maybe it was Islam-done-her-wrong. She had converted to Islam, or re-verted to Islam or embraced Islam or however they say, from a Catholic upbringing. Somebody had turned her onto Rumi which led her to read up […]

  • Post 9/11, the deluge

    “The examination of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks through fiction is, understandably, a fairly recent phenomenon. There is the issue of publishing lead time, and worries that the subject was simply too raw for writers to deal with honestly. However, as the third anniversary of 9/11 approaches, several notable novels, especially on the crime […]

  • Elizabeth Costello, the cheat sheet

    Some months back, a friend called with a problem. “I’m reading [Coetzee’s] Elizabeth Costello,” he said. “That’s good,” I said. “No,” he said. “I’m reading it for the fourth bloody time and I still don’t bloody get the bloody book.” S, this one’s for you. “OK, for those of you keeping score at home, we’ve […]

  • Satan, Editor-in-Chief?

    “The alleged publication of ‘devil worshipping’ articles in the current issue of the arty-and-alternative magazine The Vacuum has caused a stir within Belfast City Council. The magazine features an interview with an exorcist and an article called I peed in church, and has been deemed blasphemous by certain city councillors.” (Link via The Bookslut.)

  • Eleven Years of Solitude

    How to write a novel: 1) take eleven years of your life. 2) Use them up. I’m cynical about the hard-luck story; it’s become so much part of the hype in which debut authors are packaged that it’s difficult not to go “yeah, yeah” at the umpteenth tale of author writing in cafes, subsisting on […]

  • Time to Kill?

    “EVER since Inspector Morse died, there has been a hole in my soul that makes me pick up any fat book with a shadowy illustration on the cover. Indian whodunits are still low on the evolutionary scale, but the bereft reader grasps at straws. Ramesh Menon has written a pair of thrillers, someone has published […]