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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Tharoor's Favourite Subject: Tharoor

From the San Francisco Chronicle, a judicious review of Shashi Tharoor's mixed-bag collection of essays, Bookless In Baghdad, which makes some telling points:

"If the great writers of India through the ages could be assembled for a group photo, Shashi Tharoor would probably be missing. Not because he hasn't earned a place in the canon but because he would be unable to resist taking the portrait himself."
...
"In pieces reprinted from a dozen publications over the past decade, Tharoor makes frequent reference to the 'raves' his work has received, unabashedly rejects more critical assessments, laments the shortage of time his day job allows for his writing and indulges in an exuberant confession that 'there is nothing quite like the thrill of publishing a book.' Moments such as these make for squeamish reading once around and become downright repellent in repetition. Because of an unfortunate editorial decision to publish the essays unexcised, the reader is lectured on the 'responsibility of the creative artist' not once but thrice in near-verbatim passages (it has to do with Moliere, edification and cultural identity, by the way) and will be reminded regularly that 'the very word novel implies that there must be something 'new'.' I don't begrudge a belle lettrist his bon mot, but I don't relish being able to finish his pretty phrases for him."

5 Comments:

  • ha! :)

    By Blogger uma, at 11:51 AM  

  • and i'd say hee. Thanks for link!

    (The other one still doesn't open, so maybe it's my Linux acting up again)

    By Blogger Mangs, at 6:10 PM  

  • Oh come on, let's be fair here. The guy's writing a book of his personal reactions to reading adn writing, his joys and enthusiasms (and pans) -- how on earth could he do that without referring to himself? As the rest of the review you've quoted goes on to say, there's some marvellous stuff in Bookless in Baghdad. Can you think of any other Indian writer who could have given us committed readers so much to think about, laugh about and enjoy with such style, insight and wit?

    By Anonymous Letitia, at 7:02 PM  

  • I agree with Letitia. Shashi Tharoor is amongst the finest observers of modern Indian life and values I have ever read, and he does it consistently every fortnight in the pages of the Hindu. I applaud him unreservedly. Your post is petty and nasty.

    By Anonymous Kabir, at 1:07 PM  

  • You are, of course, quite entitled to propagate your own opinion of Tharoor's worth. By the same token, you ought to allow for other shades of opinion, too -- such as the San Francisco Chronicle review one has linked to.

    By Blogger PrufrockTwo, at 1:35 PM  

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