Prufrock's Page

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Alan Cheuse's over-the-top review of Rana Dasgupta's Tokyo Cancelled in The San Francisco Chronicle makes some important points: "There is ... a certain glibness and, unfortunately, coolness -- if not utter frigidity -- when it comes to human relations. Perhaps morphing, one of the main techniques in a number of the stories, also makes for a bit of problem, so that when problems arise between characters, the writer can put them behind him by yet another act of transmutation -- damaged clone into celebrity, girl into store -- without ever having to resolve them in traditional terms."

Which, come to think of it, is always the problem with works of technical, structural or imaginative innovation: such achievements are at the cost of emotional resonance. They soar without ever touching ground in the reader's heart, as Cheuse aptly writes, going on to mention Ulysses and Cloud Atlas as examples. He could well have added the novels of Italo Calvino to the list.

One is racking one's brains to come up with exceptions. Perhaps Faulkner's The Sound And The Fury? Or perhaps even Michael Cunningham's The Hours?


  • That's probably because we are obsessed withe innovation itslef, so much so that we fail to truly connect with the characters, ensuring that they remain aloof and alien to us--a defense mechanism.
    Can't think of any exception, for now

    By Blogger Anand, at 2:57 PM  

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