Month: April 2005

  • The fear of the firangi

    Ramachandra Guha discovers that “Bitter enemies though they might be, the Marxist left and the saffron right are united by what can only be described as an irrational fear of the foreigner.” He was at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University recently, and asked who had spoken before him:“They named a Marxist economist. And what did she […]

  • Vikram Seth, NRI?

    Vikram Seth just received an award intended to honour diaspora Indians. “After the ceremony, Mr. Seth said: “It feels great to get an award from your own country.” In a lighter vein, the writer, who divides time between London and New Delhi, said, “but I don’t feel completely pravasi.” I remember an earnest session on […]

  • Irresponsible conspiracy theory of the week

    In which we discover that the author of the Opal Mehta books (big bucks advance) wants to be an investment banker.And Lavanya Sankaran, author of The Red Carpet (hailed, hallelujahed and blessed with the ritual advance plus inevitable comparison with Jhumpa Lahiri) is an investment banker. I know. It’s a weak conspiracy theory. But it […]

  • Raymona Chandler to the rescue

    Otto Penzler, dean of mystery-writing in America, flaps his sexist lip(link via Sarah Weinman):“The women who write [cozies] stop the action to go shopping, create a recipe, or take care of cats,” he says. “Cozies are not serious literature. They don’t deserve to win. Men take [writing] more seriously as art. Men labor over a […]

  • How Opal Mehta cleaned up

    Met an editor last year who said he was looking for “chicklit with a nosering in it”. He should’ve talked to Kaavya Viswanathan, who’s living every young writer’s dream–she picked up a $ 500,000 advance from Little Brown for How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got In.“I had only vaguely thought of becoming […]

  • Why I Read (reprise)

    Was re-reading Burton’s The Arabian Nights on the grounds that I’d rather get my porn from a 19th century explorer’s attempts at translation than the boring sleaze on television, and found myself hijacked by the footnotes. Here’s Burton on the institution of the Hammam:“I have noted the popular practice amongst men as well as women, […]

  • Why I Read

    Salman Rushdie says it so that we don’t have to. (It’s a moot point that he says it rather better. Maybe we should ask him to come and be our guest blogger, hmmm?)“Books come into the world and change the lives of their authors for good or ill and sometimes change the lives of their […]

  • Orange: new writers

    From the BBC: “Three authors have been shortlisted for the first Orange Award for new female writers, to be announced on 7 June.Journalist Diana Evans has been chosen for her debut 26a, about twins living in London brought up by their Nigerian mother and dissatisfied British father.New York-based Nell Freudenberger’s Lucky Girls is a collection […]

  • Surfacing

    Just finished reading Siddhartha Deb’s Surface. For anyone, publisher, hack reviewer, omnivorous reader or ex-Babu, who faces a daily stack of books in the inbox instead of a daily stack of files, there’s a moment you look forward to, the silent “yes” moment. It happens when instead of pretentious junk or boring twaddle or yet […]

  • Inbox

    (Introducing an occasional listing of new releases; some of these were sent to me for review, some I go out and buy. ‘Inbox’ will come out once a month, and is intended to be an indicative rather than comprehensive listing of what’s crossed my destop and is in Delhi’s bookshops. As and when desktop clutter […]