Month: August 2004

  • The Jargon File for Reviewers

    Tom Payne’s guide to reviewese is unputdownable (well, it was unpickable up because I read it on the Net). No, seriously, his wickedly funny, darkly comic takedown of the cliches reviewers’ use coruscates with deceptively simple examples of how the blurb’s taking over the main pages. I’d say that he had a lightness of touch […]

  • "Inside Cavafy’s poems"

    “Alexandria has, of course, changed in the 71 years since Cavafy’s death, but it still feels like his city. The cafés where he watched the world go by are still in business. The street markets and flaking 19th-century apartment blocks have not been swept away. Deep underground lies the buried city of the Macedonian Greeks […]

  • I’m working on my next outright lie…

    Quote of the day: “Mr Black said his understanding was that [Khouri’s] attempt to amass evidence in her favour was ‘a work in progress’.” And The Sydney Morning Herald has got a little list.

  • And Yet The Books…

    I used to think that adulthood was defined as that stage of your life when you set aside poetry for the minutiae of daily living: friends and their problems, deadlines, tax returns, landlords, the permanent freelancer’s affliction known as ‘nomonia’, paperwork, relationships, numerous changes of residence, all that shit. Then a few years ago, a […]

  • The Longest Journey

    (First published in Outlook Traveller) The train starts at Jammu Tawi and cuts across ten states before it reaches the end of the line, Kanniyakumari; it covers 3,726 km of track, its wheels turning to a shifting rhythm (chaichaigaramchai it says in the North, idlivadacawphee it says in the South); at night at the smaller […]

  • The One About Nissim and Shivaji

    (First published in Speaking Volumes, Business Standard, JANUARY 13, 2004) In Iris, John Bayley’s memoir of his wife, Iris Murdoch, he wrote of her post-Alzheimer self: “The power of concentration has gone, along with the ability to form coherent sentences…. She does not know she has wrotten twenty-seven remarkable novels, as well as her books […]

  • Last Word: Raped by Anonymous

    (Originally published in The Calcutta Telegraph, October 16, 2003) You probably remember these names, or at least, these descriptions. Bhanwari Devi, gangraped in Rajasthan; the girl on the Mumbai train, raped in full view of five other passengers who did nothing to stop her assailant; the Swiss diplomat raped as she exited a film screening […]

  • Book review: Storylines

    (Written for the Indian Journal of Gender Studies–September 30, 2004) Storylines: Conversations With Women Writers Women’s World India/ Asmita Rs 250, 312 pages ISBN not given In the lexicon of literary criticism, there is no such thing as a Male Writer. Men Writers don’t get together for conferences; Male Writers don’t find the diversity of […]

  • The One About Edward Said

    (First published in Speaking Volumes, Business Standard, SEPTEMBER 30, 2003) Being online the night we heard that Edward Said died was to receive a demonstration of how deeply the man had affected his world. It was only by coincidence that I hit Google News a bare minute, literally, after Reuters and AP put the first […]

  • The One About Jhumpa Lahiri and Reviews in India

    (First published in the Business Standard, September 15, 2003) The formula for a rising Hollywood star used to run along these lines. First there’s the hopeful actor in Phase One: “If you have the time, please give me a call. I’ll be waiting by the phone.” Then there’s the moderately successful role, or Phase Two: […]