Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

To read an Amitav Ghosh novel is not merely to get a glimpse of the best of contemporary Indian writing, but also a snapshot of an oft-ignored episode of history. The “Sea of Poppies” is no exception. After a somewhat lukewarm tryst with Sunderbans and the Gangetic Dolphin (Hungry Tide), the first novel of the […]

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Literary potshots

In Fury, a Salman Rushdie character (Prof. Solanka) flays Hemingway, calling him the “most effeminate” of novelists, or something to that effect. It suits Rushdie, his writing leaning towards the opposite spectrum of literary style. A few years down the line, Rohinton Mistry writes in Family Matters – “…Yezad felt that Punjabi migrants of a […]

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From Heaven Lake by Vikram Seth

When Vikram Seth traveled through China almost twenty five years ago, the country was much less fashionable in popular parlance than it is today. Sinkiang and Tibet are likely to be far more accessible to the tourist today, possibly even to the hitch hiker, which is what was Seth’s choice incarnate – an interesting albeit […]

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Adiga wins the Booker

It is probably news no longer, but I am happy with the choice, though it might sound strange when I haven’t read the other books in contention. On reading The White Tiger, I did get the feeling that it might actually win, no matter the competition. Congratulations to Aravind Adiga! Link to BBC Interview.

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The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

What becomes apparent soon into The White Tiger is its anger. This is the voice of the post liberal India, the generation after Rushdie and Mistry. While the principals of Mistry’s Fine Balance are crushed in subhuman surroundings, the one here rises in protest using the very system which keeps countless others like him in […]

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The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh

In his essay on the anti Sikh riots of Delhi (The Ghosts of Mrs. Gandhi), this is what Amitav Ghosh has to say about “The Shadow Lines”: a book that led me backward in time to earlier memories of riots, ones witnessed in childhood. It became a book not about any one event but about […]

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Fury by Salman Rushdie

 Professor Malik Solanka, a man in his mid fifties, scholar and dollmaker extraordinaire, is having a rather belated mid life crisis. “Fury”, which he sees around him, in the rage of destruction, or the fire of creation, overwhelms him suddenly, when he leaves his wife and three year old son in London. He travels to […]

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An Equal Music by Vikram Seth

Michael, a brilliant but temperamental violinist, finds that the love of his life happens to be living in the same city he calls home: London. Julia, a pianist, his first and only love, is someone he cannot forget, though they had parted on unfavorable terms ten years ago. He clings on to her memories, from […]

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Train To Pakistan by Khushwant Singh

After the prolix of Love in the Time of Cholera, Train to Pakistan was a refreshing change. Not merely for its brevity and directness, but also for a context with which I could very much relate. Although fiction, the background events are real. Thousands of refugees perished during the exodus, when a Pakistan was split […]

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The Leopard by Ruskin Bond

I am presently perusing a collection of short stories titled “Best Indian Short Stories – Volume I, selected (not edited?) by Khushwant Singh. Many of the stories are translations. So it is not necessarily a collection of best Indian stories written in English, but claiming to encompass the entire literary gamut of the subcontinent. This […]

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