Thursday, August 23, 2007

Indian authors

Let me, first of all, admit to my pretensions to non-intellectuality. That means I'm a little scared of books that seem difficult or intellectually challenging, and usually don't go there. By and large I prefer easier reading - classics like Pride and Prejudice, the whole genre of Golden Age detective fiction including Sapper et all, swashbuckling adventures and romances, fictional biographies etc. One genre that I have unfortunately never been able to get into is Indian Authors.

I have tried to read some of them, and my husband used to buy all of them once upon a time, but now we have decided we're too old to pretend to grey cells we don't have ( anyway post 30 one is supposed to start losing the few we had acquired till then!). I find many of them very difficult to read, angsty and depressing. The one I do like is Chitra Banerji Divakaruni - though she does get repetitive. I used to read a lot of Nayantara Sehgal at one time but not lately. I also feel that what many Indian authors write about hits too close to home - I'm an escapist when it comes to reading and would rather read about a better/ more interesting world than the same old - if I wanted reality, I'd curl up with the daily newspaper!

It's interesting - I had never analysed this before but now that I have and the cat's out of the bag, I feel happier - no more pretending/ feeling intellectually challenged for not wanting to read about the miseries of Parsis/ partition/ urban/ rural Bengal/ whatever!

Speaking of which let me also admit that I thought the book The Namesake sucked. What was the big deal - it was just another second gen immigrant's tale. Gogol never came to life! What was amazing was the luminous film Mira Nair crafted out of it, and the fact that she realised that the story lay in Ashima and her husband, their evolution and the struggle to adjust.

Also, I did not like The God of Small Things, apart from the last chapter which describes the affair between the mother and Velutha. The rest of the book was badly over-written and incoherent!

Liked: Swati Kaushal's Piece of Cake. Light, witty and charming. Contemporary.
Born Confused, I think by Tanu...Desai. Intelligently and movingly written 2nd-Gen tale.
English, August by Upamanyu Chatterjee. Funny and heartfelt.
The Cuckold by Kiran Nagarkar. Poignant and lyrical in its writing.
Chitra Banerji Divakaruni - Beautifully written, real characters, poignant moments
though I do wish all the Indian characters weren't from homes where women were
suppressed, and who found freedom and self expression once exported to America. There
are a few of us self-expressing non-suppressed types even back here in India. In fact,
going by reports about the Indian community in the UK, there may be more suppression
and oppression going on there!

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