Month: January 2010

  • Book review: Home Boy

    (Published in Mail Today, January 2010) Home Boy H M Naqvi HarperCollins, Rs 399, 216 pages “We’d become Jews, Japs, Niggers. We weren’t before. We fancied ourselves boulevardiers, raconteurs, renaissance men, AC, Jimbo and me…” In a recent column, Shalom Auslander described his next novel. “It is a funny book about genocide….I’m a fun guy. […]

  • Jaipur Literature Festival: finallyfinally

    (I promise, this is the last of the updates–my column for the Business Standard, which reprises some of the stuff in the blog posts. For a really thoughtful critique of the festival, see Namita Bhandare’s take. It’s funny how possessive all of us who’ve been attending the JLF from year one or two onwards feel […]

  • Jaipur Literature Festival: final notes

    -The Hanif Kureishi-Amitava Kumar session was a classic example of how matching the right moderator to the right writer can pay off massive dividends. The JLF had a little trouble with this, with Chetan Bhagat asking Anjum Hassan daft, condescending questions about how it felt to move from “the dressing table to the writing table”. […]

  • Jaipur Literature Festival: Vikram Chandra

    On technique: “If you’re a writer or a sportsman, if you’ve ever practiced a sport, you’ll notice that at first you get worse. That’s because you’re becoming aware of the technique involved, whether it’s writing or a sport. Then you practice some more and then you get better. There’s a balance between learning technique and […]

  • Jaipur Literature Festival: Ayaan Hirsi Ali

    “Censorship isn’t just something imposed by the state,” says Ali Sethi. “It’s also a mental state.” Free speech isn’t one of the themes for the JLF this year, but like the various memes floating around the festival—gulags, conspiracy theories, the changing nature of freedom, the state versus the individual—it comes up in interesting ways. Sethi […]

  • Jaipur Lit Fest, Day 3: in brief

    Let’s put it this way. Roddy Doyle, Vikram Chandra, Louis de Bernieres, Hanif Kureishi, plus Sister Jesme, Lawrence Wright and others–all on the same day. On the discussion table: cognition and reading, and what parts of your brain light up when you’re deep in a book; Al Qaeda; empire and the new-new orientalism; revamping religion; […]

  • Jaipur Literary Festival: Tenzin Tsundue and Isabel Hilton

    “Now how can I tell my children where we came from?”~Tenzin Tsundue William Dalrymple introduces Tenzin Tsundue as “the most arrested author at the festival”. Tsundue’s life has been a struggle in service of the Tibetan cause, and his cv includes 12 jail terms and a close acquaintanceship with torture. His session with Isabel Hilton […]

  • Jaipur lit fest, notes from day two

    Notes from the Jaipur Lit Fest, Day TwoKhullar chaiAt Flow, the fancy café in between the Baithak and the Mughal Tent, you get hot apple cider honey, green tea and acceptable freshly brewed coffee for a price. Authors and delegates get a decent facsimile of dhaba chai in the Diggi Palace dining room, and students […]

  • Notes from the Jaipur Lit Fest, day one

    The Jaipur ShuffleThe Jaipur Shuffle is a well-known manouevre executed in obeisance to the local gods of fog and missed flights, and it was done with expertise on the first day of the fest. Wole Soyinka—“Mr Woyinka”, says a distracted organizer, and the contraction shows every signs of catching on–Girish Karnad, Jamaica Kincaid and Andrew […]

  • Jaipur and All That

    I’ve been warned that the Jaipur Literature Festival is no longer the cozy and cheerfully eccentric fest of my memories–“darling, it’ll be like Polo Season out there,” a friend said darkly, packing her pearls as she spoke. But I’m still fond of it for two reasons: 1) I don’t have to travel to Edinburgh to […]