Month: August 2004

  • The Lobsang Rampa defence

    From the Sydney Morning Herald (or try this link, or this one, if you don’t want to register): “Twelve days after the Herald’s revelations that the author Norma Khouri fabricated her best-selling book Forbidden Love, her publisher Random House has lost track of her and is ‘increasingly concerned’ at her silence. …Last week she set, […]

  • Florence of Arabia

    Christopher Buckley explains the Book Title Ha-Ha Effect in this Atlantic interview: “After years and years of headlines about car bombs and suicide bombs (as Dorothy Parker would say, “what fresh hell is this?”), and amidst some really wonderful reporting from behind the iron veil, if you will, by very brave women who documented what […]

  • Two Seekers

    Pankaj Mishra reviewed Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s Nine Lives for the New York Times recently, and followed up with a review for the Washington Post of Charlotte Bacon’s There is Room For You. It’s a pity they didn’t run in the same magazine, because the two reviews offer a perspective on what two very different seekers […]

  • Fake it Till You Make It

    Norma Khouri was supposed to make a statement to the media answering all the doubts Malcolm Knox raised about her identity (tick one): a) yesterday b) today c) three days ago. I have no idea; all I know is that she ain’t sung yet. From the Sydney Morning Herald, the paper that exposed Khouri as […]

  • Let it bleed

    One of the Babu’s closest friends hated the religious proscriptions on menstruating women implacably; she found a measure of relief in entering temples on “forbidden days” while humming the Stones lyrics: “We all need someone we can bleed on And if you want it, baby, well you can bleed on me We all need someone […]

  • The Great Debate

    In the first part of a two-part article, Amit Chaudhuri had written: “Back in Calcutta after a month in England, I found that a debate, or a public difference of opinion, between two Indian academics had gone all but stale. Its venue had been an unlikely one, a national newsmagazine known as much for its […]

  • Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be…

    I’m reminded of how starved we are in India for decent arts coverage on the first Sunday of every month, which is when the Hindu Literary Review goes up on the website. It brings back a kind of nostalgia for the days when most decent papers had an arts & books section, a design page, […]

  • Fisching trip

    This has absolutely nothing to do with literature, but what the heck. I’ve just finished five straight hours of work, and even a Babu is entitled to his fun. Here’s J P Devine on the arrest of Bobby Fischer. NB: Fischer prefers to call his detention the “kidnapping”. “In these testy times, you can bet […]

  • Amitav in Dilli

    Amitav Ghosh was in Delhi recently. Highlights, in the Babu’s best gossip-columnist-style: he got mobbed by photographers at the launch of his book at a bar called Agni, Khushwant Singh announced we were looking at a future Nobel Prize winner, and he went through one bewildering interview where he tried to talk about his book […]

  • Heller and Birnbaum

    Zoe Heller, in conversation with Robert Birnbaum. She has a lot to say about the strangeness of a writer’s life, about her reviews (being shat on from a great height ain’t as much fun as it might seem) and about her next book. Here’s a brief excerpt: ZH:Bizarrely very much to my surprise, I thought […]