The other day I was in the company of my Sri Lankan friends. The discussion included mostly cricket (the world cup was dragging to an end), some cinema (Fracture was somewhat hollow despite the presence of Anthony Hopkins and The Namesake was brilliant) and, of course, books (Tariq Ramadan's book on Prophet Mohammad was mentioned, among others).
The hostess of the evening, at one point, mentioned Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss. 'I'm stuck somewhere in the middle of the novel,' she said. Why was she not able to move on, I asked her. Was it the structure of the narrative that was coming in the way? The structue, no, I woudn't go that far, she said. What was it then, I insisted. She's dealing with so many things at the same time, so much goes on there on those pages, it is sort of difficult to keep pace with...--something like that was her answer.
Well, I too am yet to finish the novel but I found it to be very intelligent and superbly evocative. It is a densely written book, and its bonsai size (pages) could be deceptive.
Any way, Kiran just had a chat with CNN's Anjali Rao in Talk Asia and has some interesting insights to share. For example, here is her take on Indian writing:
It's funny, this whole fashion of Indian writing. In a way, I don't think that it's really quite fair. I think if one book is popular, publishers immediately go after another book and another one and they start supporting writers from that part of the world, which is wonderful for Indian writers. But I was talking to a young Nigerian woman, a wonderful author, and she said she was told India was the flavor of the month and it was much harder for her. So there is this downside to all of this, but it is certainly true that it's wonderful to be an Indian writer.
Is she referring to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (author of Half of a Yellow Sun) who is competing against her for this year's Orange Prize?
Read the whole transcript here and watch the videos here.