Month: March 2005

  • Kafka’s overworked…

    …these days.In Turkey, a local administrator sends all state libraries a diktat: seize Orhan Pamuk’s books! Get them off the shelves! Except that, er, the libraries never carried any copies of Pamuk’s works anyway.And Ian McEwan may be persona non grata in the US:“McEwan’s diplomatic woes began a year ago when U.S. officials turned him […]

  • (Hail, comrade, and all that)

    The New York Times gives Husband of a Fanatic two thumbs-up and a faint caveat:“At its best, [Amitava] Kumar’s reportage has the immediacy and respectful attention to detail of a well-turned Granta essay (it is no surprise to see Ian Jack, Granta’s editor, cited in the acknowledgments). Picking his way through lives distorted or destroyed […]

  • Dished up

    “There are two schools of good writing about food: the mock epic and the mystical microcosmic. The mock epic (A. J. Liebling, Calvin Trillin, the French writer Robert Courtine, and any good restaurant critic) is essentially comic and treats the small ambitions of the greedy eater as though they were big and noble, spoofing the […]

  • Indo-Pak zindabad

    Suketu Mehta and Nadeem Aslam share the Kiriyama Prize. I’m happy because Maximum City and Maps For Lost Lovers were both brilliant books; headline writers are happy because they get to do the sub-editor’s equivalent of waving national flags in joyous tandem across the Wagah border.

  • The Legends of Khasak

    It’s hard to describe the impact of The Legends of Khasak to someone who hasn’t read it: the novel took O V Vijayan approximately 19 years to write, according to one reckoning, it has been in print for over thirty years, and it is often regarded as the indispensable Malayalam contemporary novel. Vijayan died in […]

  • Back, sort of

    The Babu apologises for the long silence, but he was struck down in his prime by foul fevers etcetera. He’s not going to describe the illness, following the example set by Paul Theroux:“Illness is nearly always dramatic in imaginative literature…so much of fiction is a fever chart. But illness is very tedious in a travel […]

  • The Whatchamacallit of Desire

    Tarun Tejpal’s launch was the last event I attended before the mosquitoes got me good, but it was an Event in ALL CAPs, which Jai’s already blogged about. The book–The Alchemy of Desire–has been hugely hyped. I reviewed it for The Indian Express, or at least I think I did: the review came out in […]

  • The BS column: Hans Christian Andersen

    (This column first published in Business Standard: Speaking Volumes, March 29, 2005) This was a bread-and-butter piece, but writing it was…weird. I’ve had malaria for the last two weeks, and spent the week before I wrote this in bed with Andersen’s fairy tales. Let’s just say that delirium isn’t helped along much when you’re dreaming […]

  • The Business Standard column: summer reading (non-fiction)

    (First published in Business Standard on March 21, 2005)This was part two of the summer reading special: non-fiction, this time. It’s the buzz you hear from foreign publishers and editors eyeing the great Indian pool of talent: non-fiction in India is about to take off. The view from inside the well is interesting. Anthologies, fiction […]

  • The Business Standard column: summer reading

    I normally shy away from summer reading round-ups, but this one…was kind of fun to put together. It came from realising that there were so many decent books on my desk that I was reading them too fast to write about them, which is a goooood feeling if you’re a hack reviewer. Here’s the link […]