Category: Fiction

  • Black River, and endings

    Black River, and endings

    When is a novel done? When you know that you have to let go of these characters — these people, their lives, their landscapes, their hopes, their unspoken dreams and wishes, their griefs and heartbreaks, their struggles, their failures, the moments of transition and transcendence — and you are finally at peace with that.

  • The Wildings: Mara’s story

    The Wildings: Mara’s story

    Mara’s story She was an orange kitten with deep green eyes, no bigger than the palm of my partner’s hand. Mara had been rescued from a drain in Sujan Singh Park by my cousin, and was temporarily living with them and their three dogs. “We have to find someone to adopt her!” said Kamini. “Yes,” […]

  • Speaking Volumes: Funny guys

    Speaking Volumes: Funny guys

    Ricardo Rendón’s cartoons, famous in Colombia from roughly 1918 through the 1920s, feel familiar, as though they took a trans-decadal flight from his time to our own. The vultures feasting on the remains of the republic; the politician’s juggling act with nothing more than glinting soap bubbles; the last rites administered to the skull and […]

  • Imaginary places: The Wildings map

    Imaginary places: The Wildings map

    I wish I’d learned to draw properly (more School of Gunter Grass, less School of Edna O’Brien). I blame some of my woeful inability to sketch anything at all on the art teacher who made us draw apples for three months straight after which I a) nursed an aversion to drawing b) still associate apples […]

  • Booklove: The Sound of Things Falling

    Booklove: The Sound of Things Falling

    (Published in the Business Standard, June 16, 2014) It is only once in a while that animal tragedies impinge on human consciousness: the pathos of their suffering has to be extreme in order to jump the queue of human misery. Some weeks ago, a Copenhagen zoo culled Marius, a giraffe with the soft nose and […]

  • The Hundred Names of Darkness

    The Hundred Names of Darkness

      “A delight to read. Eliot’s Old Possum would have enjoyed these Practical Indian Cats.” Salman Rushdie In the sequel and conclusion to her critically acclaimed, internationally bestselling novel, The Wildings, Nilanjana Roy takes us back to the Delhi neighbourhood of Nizamuddin, and its unforgettable cats–Mara, Southpaw, Katar, Hulo and Beraal. As they recover slowly […]

  • Speaking Volumes: Stoner and the tyranny of now

    Speaking Volumes: Stoner and the tyranny of now

     (Published in the Business Standard, January 7, 2013) Towards the end of 2013, I found an old interview with Mahmood Farooqui, the historian and story-teller. Many things that year had reminded me of his words: “We’re living with a loss of our sense of history… We live in a contemporary present where what happened two […]

  • The Hundred Names of Darkness

    The Hundred Names of Darkness

    “The night hides more than predators until we know it so well that we can speak its many names without fear; and yet, we live most keenly under the wing of darkness.” ~ Kirri The Hundred Names of Darkness, Aleph Book Company “But how do you make friends with the night?” From the branches of […]

  • Booklove: Munro’s Ordinary People

    Booklove: Munro’s Ordinary People

      (Published in the Business Standard, Tuesday, October 15, 2013) You don’t have to be a woman to love Alice Munro’s writing, but it helps not to be an obnoxious, pompous, and usually male, twit. Exhibit A: Bret Easton Ellis, who grumbled that Munro was “always an over-rated” writer and that her Nobel literature win […]

  • Booklove: The Booker’s New Imperium

    (Published in the Business Standard, September 24, 2013) It was in 1899 that Rudyard Kipling beseeched the US to “take up the White Man’s burden”, in an infamous poem. Kipling was thinking of conquering “new-caught, sullen peoples”, not extending the dominion of the United States across the Man Booker Prize when he suggested that America […]