Month: August 2004

  • The calligrapher’s tale

    I have terrible handwriting; despite the efforts of a clutch of convent nuns, my English script refused to follow the precise curlicues of copperplate, and my lines remain unruly, displaying a tendency to walk off the page entirely. My Bengali and Hindi handwriting was even worse when I was young: one language inevitably flowed into […]

  • "A legacy of words"

    Hanif Kureishi finds his way to the past through a most surprising medium: “On the floor in a corner of my study, sticking out from under a pile of other papers, is a shabby old green folder containing a manuscript I believe will tell me a lot about my father and my own past. But […]

  • Oriya poet dead

    “Eminent Oriya poet and freedom fighter Satchidananda Routray died Saturday, his family said. He was 89. The end came in a hospital in his home city of Cuttack, where he had been admitted last week. A Jnanpith winner, Routray, was inspired by Marxism in his youth, but had chosen Lord Jagannath as the theme of […]

  • The Lost Boys, part deux

    A sequel to Peter Pan? Hmmm. Captain Hook faces a new enemy: rust. The Lost Boys start an off-Broadway cabaret act and debut to rave reviews. Tinker Bell moves to India, where that stupid little light of hers learns to cope with three power cuts a day. Peter Pan and Wendy get married, but he’s […]

  • Fischer (1)

    Take a few days off, and something or the other is guaranteed to crop up, even in the middle of August (traditionally a slow month in the publishing industry) that the rest of the blogosphere will link to long before the Babu gets off his, er, donkey. Tibor Fischer files this year’s obligatory Booker judge […]

  • Fischer (2)

    It may not rank as Literature, but Bobby Fischer’s letters to US State Department officials are already on my personal top ten list of the best things I’ve read in ages. Here’s a sample, but frankly, you’re missing out if you don’t read the chess maestro’s complete works: Dear “Peter” (you won’t tell me what […]

  • Curiouser and curiouser

    I’m hoping Moorish Girl will recover soon and make some sense of the Khouri affair, because lord knows I can’t. First Norma says that she only lied a little and that she didn’t want to be paid royalties; now she’s wanted in two countries.

  • Dillon Kosla: Both Sides Now

    Dillon Kosla was born Asha, and had 15 surgeries in five years in order to remake himself as a man; he’s a successful attorney in San Fransisco. This book sounds as though it might challenge several of the entrenched ideas we have about gender. Rights to his book, Both Sides Now, have just been sold. […]

  • Right, and Jesus had an Adam’s Apple

    Not that my religious sensiblities were offended (I have none), but this did seem like a slightly OTT title for a novel: From Publisher’s Lunch: “Will Clarke’s LORD VISHNU’S LOVE HANDLES, about a man haunted by psychic visions of impending doom, which threaten his family, his career, and ultimately his sanity — that is, until […]

  • The Tree Bride Gets the Axe

    “To be Michikoed”: to be either praised or slaughtered by the ever-so-slightly-predictable and very influential New York Times reviewer. Latest victim: Bharati Mukherjee’s The Tree Bride. Method of execution: hatchet, blunt-edged. Count the adjectives: “Ponderous”, “bloated”, “discursive”, “long, stilted”, “swollen, ungainly”, “preposterous”, “flawed”. The Babu has long since been guiltily aware that he should make […]