Tuesday, November 15, 2005

They're Getting Boring

I am getting bored with South Asian (largely Indian) literature in English. The genre started off rather well with Rushdie's Midnight's Children', Seth's Golden Gate and Ghosh's Antique Land, but of late has been devoid of inspiration. Most of the authors - Rushdie, Seth, Amitav Ghosh, etc - are blessed with great craft. Their language is amazing, they also have a fine power of observation. But their imagination is flagging badly. I am somewhat old fashioned about novels. They should, to my mind, tell a good story above all. That's what keeps you rivetted to a book and the author's fine craft facilitates reading. Now it's increasingly becoming as though the craft itself is sufficient for making great authors. Implicit in this is the assumption that the very fact these writers, whose mother tongue isn't English, can write such fine English prose is enough to impress one and all. Perhaps, it did for a while. But it's getting boring now. Come up with a good story, man.

Actually, someone finally has. The Afghan writer Khalid Husseini has written a fascinating novel, 'The Kite-Runner'. Many of you might have heard of it. But if you haven't read it, read it. Quite apart from good prose (which it has), Husseini tells an amazing story that wrenches your emotions with joy at times and with excruciating pain at other times. It climaxes like a classic novel that ennobles you with the experience. At one level, it's a story of two friends. But at another, it's a story of two friends like you've never heard before, enriched by a wider canvas of cataclysmic changes in the benighted land of the lovable Afghans.

5 Comments:

Blogger shyam said...

Can't agree more, nothing works like a good story as the foundation to minor subplots. Some of the best books and movies are works of art which are put together like some of the best cooking, you can taste the minor parts every now and then and also take in the whole body of the dish too.

You should blog more :)

1:30 AM  
Blogger rani said...

Thanks Codey. Yours is the first response to my blog (I never thought I would get one). I'll remember it. Thanks for the encouragement. Never having written before, it matters a lot to me.

By the way, do read The Kite Runner if you haven't (the way I'm going about the book it would seem I have a biz interest in it; it's just that I don't read that often and got very impressed by Khalid Husseini.

4:53 AM  
Blogger K said...

Hey, write more often! OK, I've heard the gripes about the template and I'll return to a dark-on-light template by Saturday. I'm contemplating buying the Kite Runner, but currently I'm in the middle of a Murakami phase so I'll finish off his canon before I start anything else!

5:13 AM  
Blogger D said...

I finished the Kite Runner a while ago. Most of the novel is rich in description & great, but the end is very filmi, somewhat souring my experience.

6:18 AM  
Blogger D said...

no doubt. one of the more enjoyable reads in recent times has been The Life Of Pi. good story. lovely twist.

10:51 AM  

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