John Freeman, president of the National Book Critics Circle, recently interviewed Akhil Sharma and Dara Horn
, both anointed by Granta as among the 20 most promising young American novelists. Here's a comment by Sharma on how his novel
was received in India, which comes across to one as more than just a little disingenuous: "My relatives in India were very angry. I was surprised. I mean, the book says on the cover these things aren't true. That these events are made up, and they were. None of that happened. I borrowed some of the places, and the stuff about the man's job is true. But the rest is made-up. But they kept thinking it was true. You have to remember, though, India is largely a shame-based culture, not a guilt-based culture. So a confessional narrative doesn't go over very well--not only does the man in my book do a horrible thing, he doesn't have the goodness to keep quiet about it."
See, that's the defence Joyce, Lawrence, Nabokov and all the others whose books were proscribed should have used: "It never happened! It's made up! Says so on the cover!"