Month: August 2007

  • ‘Biafra, we hail thee’

    (Published in the Business Standard, June 12, 2007) On Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s website , a button invites readers to ‘Tell Your Biafra Story’. That apparently ordinary link tells an extraordinary story. Chimamanda, whose book Half of a Yellow Sun won the Orange Prize for fiction recently, is the best-known of a small but growing group […]

  • 1984 and the end of privacy

    (Published in the Business Standard, June 5, 2007) In the late 1940s, George Orwell battled sickness almost constantly, often spending months on end in the hospital. Illness, for him, was a curious creative trigger: he did some of his best work in the worst physical health. By 1947, he was writing to his literary agent: […]

  • 100 % Sparkly New Writing

    (Published in the Business Standard, May 7, 2007) One of the most touching love stories of our times has to be the one between the publishing industry and debutant authors. It isn’t, admittedly, easy on the debutant authors, who can find themselves loved, cherished, seduced and then cast aside on the remainder heap as the […]

  • In Conversation with Kiran Desai: Part I

    (Published in the IIC Quarterly, June 2007) Kiran Desai, interviewed by Ira Pande and NSR. Kiran Desai’s first brush with fame came in 1997, when Salman Rushdie included the young writer in his controversial anthology of Indian writing, Mirrorwork. Rushdie described her first novel, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard, as “lush and intensely imagined”. Kiran, […]

  • In Conversation with Kiran Desai: Part II

    (Published in the IIC Quarterly, June 2007)Kiran Desai: Interviewed by Ira Pande and NSR. (Continued from previous post) Ira Pande: You said somewhere that as you enter that house, your mother’s house, you feel as if you’re in the presence of a writer. Kiran Desai: It is strange to go into her house in New […]

  • The invisible Indian library

    (Published in the Business Standard, May 1st, 2007, Speaking Volumes) Imagine an Indian public library that attracts scholars from all over the world, a gigantic complex of three buildings containing over nine million volumes, Indian and foreign. Most of these are accessible to travellers, visiting scholars and anyone willing to take up residence on the […]

  • What fresh elf is this?

    (Published in the Business Standard, April 23, 2007) Legions of diehard Tolkien fans may feed me to a balrog for saying this. But the chief emotion The Children of Hurin evokes in me is relief that this is the last of the offerings we’re likely to get from the overflowing tray of Tolkien out-takes. The […]

  • Kurt Vonnegut: Farewell, Hello

    (Published in the Business Standard, April 16, 2007) “Please, please, please. Nobody else die!” That was the first line of the tribute Kurt Vonnegut wrote when his friend, the poet Allen Ginsburg, died. Vonnegut never intended to outlast his fellow hell-raisers, from Ginsburg to William Burroughs to Joseph Heller, but he did, until he took […]

  • Literary orgies

    (Published in the Business Standard, April 9, 2007, Speaking Volumes) It is a lowering thought, but until last week, I had spent over a decade in Delhi without receiving a single invitation to a literary orgy. There have been, admittedly, literary evenings where authors, critics and editors have variously been carved up as the main […]

  • Fifty Nifty Years: The Cat in the Hat

    Fifty Nifty Years: The Cat in the Hat

    (Published in the Business Standard, April 2nd, 2007) How is that The Cat in the Hat is not out in the cold, though it’s fifty years old? It’s been translated into Yiddish for the benefit of some kiddish, and you can read it in Spanish and see that goldfish vanish. At the Latin high table, […]