Month: August 2005

  • Slash. Burn. Pillage. Ah, Ruchir’s back.

    I’m not going to quote from Ruchir Joshi’s piece in The Kolkata Telegraph. It would be a little like describing, in slow motion, the punches thrown by Evander Holyfield as the gentle thudding of felled bodies fills the air–much more fun if you see for yourself. But before he gets down to brass knuckles and […]

  • When to stay MIA

    From Sebastian Faulks’ review of Stuart Kelly’s The Book of Lost Books: One of the best stories in Stuart Kelly’s excellent account of all the great books that have been lost to posterity concerns the 4th-century BC Greek dramatist Menander. He was revered by Julius Caesar and Quintilian among others as second only to Homer […]

  • Whither the novel?

    Iris Murdoch and John Bayley called it “Whithering”: the process of attending conferences where everyone solemnly held forth on questions like the above. We have a few answers: 1) Prufrock’s Page quotes Amitav Ghosh (tried the Mumbai Mirror link, but it’s not working): “Naipaul has reached the end of his fictional capacities, which is what […]

  • Throw the book at them

    From The New York Times: Correction: Aug. 24, 2005, Wednesday: A chart in The Arts on Tuesday with an article about “Hunger’s Brides,” the 1,360-page first novel by Paul Anderson, rounded the figure for its weight imprecisely. The book weighs 4 pounds 9 ounces, not quite 4 3/4 pounds.

  • majQa’ (oh, look it up in Klingon)

    McSweeney’s, we never fell out of love with you. No, really, we were just too busy to write. From Mike Richardson-Bryan, Klingon Fairy Tales: “Snow White and the Six Dwarves She Killed With Her Bare Hands and the Seventh Dwarf She Let Get Away as a Warning to Others” “There Was an Old Woman Who […]

  • The Guardian First Book Award longlist

    The Guardian First Book Award longlist is out, and I like it the balance between fiction and non-fiction. Haven’t read some of the books; Richard Benson’s The Farm, Nick Laird’s poetry (do not call him Mr Zadie Smith, he’s heard it before), Diana Evans’ 26A and Wesley Stace’s Misfortune aren’t available here yet. Suketu’s Maximum […]

  • Pocket Penguins: Seven in the hand

    If you’re experimenting with reading the Pocket Penguins in the listed order, be aware that this is serendipitous but also absolutely illogical. Not to mention jarring: it would never have occurred to me to follow up Marian Keyes with Jorge Luis Borges, and I’m distracted by the feeling that there should be a scrumptious shopping […]

  • Er…not quite

    The Babu’s asli avatar has been up to no good. According to this TOI story on fiction versus non-fiction: “Agrees literary critic Nilanjana Roy: “Much of fiction tends to be self- reflexive and absorbed with its own sense of self-importance. People are turning to non-fiction for answers.” Ummm. I’m a columnist and reviewer, not a […]

  • That Lang silence

    Anirban Das Mahapatra on how Ruskin Bond and Rory Medcalf are trying to revive the memory of a forgotten author: “Amid the antiquity [in Mussoorie], however, the plaque in memory of the “barrister, writer, journalist, wanderer, editor of The Moffussilite, the first Australian-born novelist… a brilliant and restless soul”, stands out in stark contrast. The […]

  • Ashes to ashes; do you suppose, Hunter got up everyone’s nose?

    The literary cannon fired its last blastAnd as HST’s ashes went pastI hope the guests at his wake didn’t sneezeA bit of Gonzo out into the breeze.