Saturday, October 21, 2006

Kiran Desai Reads from the Booker Prize Winner "The Inheritance of Loss"

To hear Kiran Desai read from her Booker Winning novel "The Inheritance of Loss" click here (sorry, the link on Johnwriter's Literary Show on the right panel doesn't work. I am working towards redeeming this, mucho gracias). Also here is the article by Pankaj Mishra that accompanied the reading in New York Times an excerpt from which appears below:

"This leaves most people in the postcolonial world with only the promise of a shabby modernity — modernity, as Desai puts it, "in its meanest form, brand-new one day, in ruin the next." Not surprisingly, half-educated, uprooted men like Gyan gravitate to the first available political cause in their search for a better way. He joins what sounds like an ethnic nationalist movement largely as an opportunity to vent his rage and frustration. "Old hatreds are endlessly retrievable," Desai reminds us, and they are "purer . . . because the grief of the past was gone. Just the fury remained, distilled, liberating.""

My grouse with diasporic writers is that they tend to denigrate, or, patronize India by writing long passages about the exotic India where Indian live in an antique world full of superstitions, mangoes, pickles, run down neighbourhoods without actually learning about the hearts and minds of the people who inhabit them. They try to exoticise without really understanding the undercurrents of Indian society. What Desai calls "shabby modernity" is also what is turning out brilliant programming code that runs most of the world today. Thus Jhumpa Labiri's "Namesake" which I am reading now, is full of India though it is set in the US, about customs of a Bengali family, and a lot of visuals that would be a treat for people who say they like India.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Rushdie Sells His Personal Papers

Here's a story for all ye committed, die-hard, whatever, Rushdie fans. Brenda Goodman reports in this article that Rushdie has sold his personal papers to Emory University, Atlanta. Now author's papers command great value since his journals, notes, manuscripts, handwritten notes, and even signatures [no matter if they are on bills or cleaning tissue] carry great value. I have preserved two letters written me by two wonderful women writers Arundhati Roy and Shobha De (; guess they would be of great literary value when I and the said writers grow old;).

"Mr. Rushdie, 59, will also join the faculty in 2007 for five years as a distinguished writer in residence. Stephen C. Enniss, director of Emory’s Manuscript, Archives and Rare Books Library, said the collection contained original manuscripts of all of Mr. Rushdie’s books, including two early, unpublished novels, as well as journals that he said Mr. Rushdie kept “compulsively” for 36 years. The journals he has written since 1989 — when the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa authorizing his murder because of the irreverent portrayal of Muhammad in his book “The Satanic Verses” — will remain closed “for a period,” Mr. Enniss said; Mr. Rushdie plans to use the material to write an autobiography. “I would like to have first go at this story; after that, everyone else can do as they please with the material,” Mr. Rushdie confirmed in an e-mail message. "

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Future of Books As We Know It. Sony Reader is here.

Got this from friend, fellow blogger and crime writer John Baker's blog.

The Sony Reader is the future of books as we know it. What's more is that it can hold, not one, but 80 electronic books or hundreds more with a removable memory card. The manufacturer claims that it is easy to carry as a slim paper back. So want to read Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Vikram Seth, and Vikram Chandra on your vacation to Goa? Go straight ahead. Download these ebooks from ereader to your Sony Reader and then, as you slowly recline under your beach umbrella, scroll down (don't have to fold the book front to back) and enjoy!
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