Prufrock's Page

Saturday, December 03, 2005

A Decade Of Salon

It's been called a "hipper, online version of The New Yorker." And it's weathered ups and downs to celebrate ten years of being in the business -- no small feat when you consider how many other 'zines have folded.

In Praise Of The Short Story

"For me the short story is a place to try new ideas and see if they work or not. A single line of dialogue may come into my mind. I don't need a structure or a form. I only need to see how that fragment fits into the story. The beauty of the short story is that you can test anything - a piece of conversation, a haunting memory, a dream, or something overheard in a restaurant."

- Haruki Murakami, in a talk at the Reischauer Institute

For A Change, Unusual Books Of The Year

The Hour, Canada, has a list of books of the year that they've enjoyed, including Abha Deveshwar's Babyji as well as a study of dance theory that discusses the Chennai-based artiste Chandralekha.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Books Of Whose Year?

Of the New York Times' 10 best books of the year, one deals with an American prep school, one is based on a fictional American campus, one discusses an American war, one is a biography of an American artist and one is a memoir of an American's experience of grief.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Awards, Bah

Garrison Keillor puts on a tuxedo to attend the National Book Awards and, tongue somewhere near cheek, says: "Having never won a big prize, I am opposed to them on principle: They are an excrescence of commerce and a corruption of the purity of artistic creation."

Rushdie On, Like, Critics

“…I had the chance to meet Salman Rushdie, which was really a strange experience. He has the same agents that I have. I walked into the office in London and he was just kind of there. I was just, ha ha, you're not supposed to be here. It's not every day that you just see Salman Rushdie sitting around. And we were talking, and he said, ‘So has the criticism started coming in?’ ‘Yeah.’ He's like, ‘What's it been like?’ I was, like, ‘It's been pretty good.’ ‘Well, let me just let you know that if you believe them when they say you're good, then you have to believe them when they say you're bad. So just keep that in mind.’ I was like, ‘That's actually really good advice.’ ”

- From an interview with Uzodinma Iweala, author of the acclaimed debut novel, Beasts of no Nation.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Good Year For Bad Sex

Salman Rushdie, Paul Theroux, John Updike and Gabriel Garcia Marquez are among the 11 contenders for the Bad Sex Award. Modesty prohibits the inclusion of extracts in this blog, but you can point your vibrating mouse here.

Update: And the winner is...Giles Coren, for his debut novel, Winkler. "It was the overexcited shower...which clinched the deal for Giles Coren," judges said.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

New York Stories

"There’s a history of writing about this place that I’m participating in when I do it as directly as I did in Motherless Brooklyn and Fortress of Solitude. That I’m conscious of certain points of reference, things like Call it Sleep by Henry Roth; and James Baldwin’s Another Country, and Last Exit to Brooklyn, and various other things. Certain early books by Bernard Malamud, you know these are points of reference for me, that encouraged me to delve into the material, and that I felt I was communing with, or communicating with, and replying to, while I was writing Motherless Brooklyn and Fortress of Solitude. So, that is a kind of regional writing tradition, for sure."

In the Gotham Gazette, Jonathan Lethem speaks about whether there's a "New York school of literature" that he belongs to.

Monday, November 28, 2005

More Best Books

The Globe & Mail's annual round-up of the 100 best books of the year is out. Surprise: Zadie Smith, Rick Moody and Salman Rushdie don't make the cut. As they say: "...the exercise is of necessity somewhat arbitrary. It's also supposed to be fun. So please enjoy it, and try not to get overwrought. We feel guilty enough already."

Who Hates Whom

John le Carré vs Salman Rushdie. Rushdie vs A.S. Byatt. Martin Amis vs Julian Barnes. Barnes vs Andrew Wylie. Wylie vs Tibor Fischer.

The Independent's Katy Guest writes about famous feuds.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Page 3-bashing

"On all week days, major newspapers such as the Times of India, the Hindustan Times, and Asian Age are full of reports of parties at five-star hotels and fawning profiles of fashion designers, their eating or dieting habits, their favourite vacation spots, champagne, colour, dog and so on. The colourful prose of fame and glamour frequently spills over to the front page when an Indian woman wins an international beauty pageant or a Bollywood starlet walks down the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival..."

In The Financial Times, Pankaj Mishra clucks his tongue at the state of Indian newspapers, touching upon the rise of middle class aspirations after liberalisation, pointing out that such reportage keeps "out the bad news so that newspapers become the echo chamber where a privileged minority hears only its own voice." (Yes, he manages to bring V.S. Naipaul into this piece, too.)

The Game's Afoot

In another overview of the resurgence in the popularity of Sherlock Holmes, Ludovic Hunter-Tilney asks: "...why does an archetypal late-Victorian popular fiction moulded by its age’s preoccupations and prejudices - empire, social Darwinism, bohemianism, racial identity, urban disorder - linger on so powerfully in our imagination?"