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Sunday, October 05, 2008

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Explorations of the unknown
Anita Desai talks about how challenging it was for her as a writer to step out of her comfort zones. Excerpts from an interview with a writer who has quietly but consistently practised her craft for over 45 years. ZIYA US SALAM

Histories of belonging and becoming
Finally, Amitav Ghosh gets into the Man Booker shortlist with his Sea of Poppies. Ghosh’s novels, says PRIYAMVADA GOPAL, is a reclamation of all that is valuable, possible and indispensable in our heterogeneous culture.

Native narratives
There is a renewed pride in resurgence of aborigine oral traditions in Australia today. PREMA SRINIVASAN


Partners in words
Literary collaborations seem to have their own fascinating stories to tell.


Partial portraits
Excerpts from a conversation with Rajorshi Chakraborti on his just-released book Derangements… MITA KAPUR

Seeds of hope
Manju Kapur, whose fourth novel The Immigrant has just been published, says writing is a solitary vocation.


The keepers of conscience
The Penguin Book of Socialist Verse, edited by Alan Bold, published 1970. It is currently out of print but good second copies are available from

Bitten by the Indian bug
Sahibs Who Loved India,compiled and edited by Khushwant Singh, Penguin, Rs. 325Purely by coincidence, all three books mentioned in this column have something to do with India’s colonial past. To begin with, ...

Unsung torch-bearers
In So Many Words: Women’s Life Experiences from Western and Eastern India, edited by Aparna Basu and Malavika Karlekar, Routledge, Rs. 475.Of an entirely different genre is In So Many Words: Women’s Life ...

'Ghoralogues' on 1857
The Warner Letters: The Experiences of Two English Brothers During the Indian Rebellion of 1857-1859, June Bush, Rupa, Rs. 395.This is really from the days by-gone. In an age of emails, chats and SMSs, it is really ...

Lessons in Heartbreak
Funny how this book reminds me of a blockbuster of another time! Thornbirds was a powerful saga of a family in Australia whose story tugged at the heartstrings of a million readers worldwide. Reading Cathy ...

East of the Sun
The Raj continues to be a topic of fascination for the present generation of authors, be it romance, history fact or fiction. The latest entrant on the block once again steeps itself in the lives of those Britishers who came to India ...

Insects Are Just Like You And Me Except Some Of Them Have Wings
There are 35 short stories. Going by just that, it’s an astounding number for a first-time writer. Looking at and reading some of them would prompt yet another thought; they certainly are all original and intriguingly most of them, ...

Underrated brilliance
The film (and the play) feel like an intellectual and emotional roller-coaster ride.

Fit for a king
A discussion on the etymology of two expensive and luxurious fabrics.

Book Review

River sutra
A riveting account of the life and civilisation along the banks of the river Indus down the centuries.

Strange and sublime
Amit Chaudhuri’s collection of previously published articles is an attempt at an alternative story of modernity.

Skimming the surface
Despite the initial promise, the sense of place crucial to a novel is missing in Weed.

Behind a billion-dollar industry
A rigorous inquiry into the often seamy global system that packages and places food in the supermarkets of the world.

Confluence of genres
Alameddine resurrects the fading oral tradition in a multimedia-like narrative.

Old story, new moral
The floods in the river Kosi seem to come and go at their own will as it happened again this year and nobody seems any the wiser. A short story by PHANISHWARNATH RENU,written 50 years ago, on the annual ritual and the mileage that politicians get out of it. Translated from the Hindi by Rakhshanda Jalil.

Of change and loss
A story of unsettled lives, narrated with warmth, wit and charm.

Pretty good yarn
Breaking Dawn celebrates the essence of being 16 without dumbing things down.

Representative voices
60 Indian Poets is an anthology marked by benevolence and fairness in its inclusion of near-forgotten and emerging poets.

Crisis and beauty
Ali left behind a world of colour and textures that will inspire generations to come.

A manoeuvred voice
The book illustrates the author’s act of negotiation with the dominant patriarchal order of the time to have her voice heard.

Sense of place
Two different voices and settings make compellingly honest reading.

Rough passages
Stories of growing up, urbane in style and retrospective in tone.

The pain and passion of broken hearts
Antony’s writing style is refreshing precisely because she has absolutely no interest in ‘feel good’ presentations.

Visions of two cities
With an unerring eye for detail, Jhabvala documents the metamorphosis of two metropolises.

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