Monday, May 07, 2007

Two books and a writer

I'm really looking forward to read two books which are still in the making (apart from Professor Amitava Kumar's Home Products of course; its copy is yet to come from India for me).

One is Patrick French's biography of V S Naipaul. Patrick had been researching it for a long time and now I hear that it will soon be making its way to the press. Two things are interesting about this project. First, Patrick is a provocative (and scholarly) writer--so I expect some interesting research on Naipaul in this book. Second, and not any less important, Naipaul himself has written so much on himself and his life--so what new thing is going to come out of Patrick's research and observations, and how will Naipaul react to it? After all, Naipaul was also analysed by his former friend, Paul Theroux, in his book on their friendship and its unceremonious end--definitely not leaving a good taste for Naipaul.

Second is the novel by former Time magazine journalist Arvind Adiga. Outlook reported that his manuscript, The White Tiger, was doing the rounds at London Fair and was creating a lot of buzz. I have enjoyed Arvind's writings on books and writers and I am sure his work will be an engaging read.

Meanwhile, looks like London-based novelist Mohsin Hamid, while promoting his second novel A Reluctant Fundamentalist, is becoming an expert in framing sharp (and short) answers. In a Q&A with Outlook, he said this when asked if Rushdie was an influence:

Rushdie opened the doors of commercial and literary recognition for South Asian writers. But not an aesthetic or political space.

Hmm...another tiff in the making with the Shah of Blah?

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