Prufrock's Page

Friday, July 27, 2007

Staying Plural

"I think it's perfectly OK to be multi-lingual, multi-cultural, even multi-faith. In a world that's always asking us to make a choice once and for all, we should say, 'No: I'm not going to make that choice. I'm going to stay plural'."

- From an interview with Elif Shafak, the Turkish novelist who shares the distinction, along with Pamuk, of being accused of "insulting Turkishness".

Those From Mumbai, Take Note

Short stories? Poetry? Essays? Is there a literary form best suited to the commute?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

New Pamuk

Titled The Museum of Innocence, it is a love story which the author said he has been composing for over ten years, says this report.

Burma Shell

Yes, we've read Amitav Ghosh and Daniel Mason's novels based in Burma. And Amy Tan and Karen Connelly have books based in that country, too. But the real treasures of Burmese literature have yet to be translated and published in the United States, says Kyi May Kaung -- notably, the work of Mya Than Tint.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Editors And Violin Makers

In an eloquent piece on the need for good editors in today's Internet age, Gary Kamiya says: "The art of editing is running against the cultural tide. We are in an age of volume; editing is about refinement. It's about getting deeper into a piece, its ideas, its structure, its language. It's a handmade art, a craft. You don't learn it overnight. Editing aims at making a piece more like a Stradivarius and less like a microchip. And as the media universe becomes larger and more filled with microchips, we need the violin makers." Going by some of the bloated pieces of contemporary fiction and non-fiction that one has encountered, one couldn't agree more.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Fiction From Our Other Neighbour

Monica Ali and Tahmima Anam could be just the tip of the iceberg. "[P]erhaps things are looking up for Bangladeshis writing in English," says Abeer Hoque: "There are at least two English writers’ groups that I know about which meet regularly in Dhaka to discuss each other’s work, a literary reference website called Monsoon Letters, a couple of well-received anthologies of English stories and essays, a vibrant Facebook group (Young Bangladeshi Writers Club), a brand new travel lit website (Paribrajok), and a fiction writing workshop..."

Rushdie 1, Protestors 0

"What if they gave a war and no-one came?" went the popular Vietnam-era poster. Well, there's more than an echo of that in what happened in Blackburn the other day, according to this report. A march to protest Sir Salman's knighthood had been announced by Tasaddiq Rehman, spokesman for the Muslim Council of Europe. But "nobody turned up at the meeting point of Bangor Street Community Centre, nor at the town hall where a demonstration was planned." It gets better: "It appears that not even the organiser himself had attended, despite telling the Lancashire Telegraph that he expected high levels of interest in the march."

(NB. The report has sparked off some raucous comments, from "this march was cancelled over a week ago" to "we need more Mr Rushids (sic) in this town. Well done old chap.")

Monday, July 23, 2007

Canary In The Coalmine

Global warming? AIDS? Religious fundamentalism? All these and more, says John Sutherland, have been explored and predicted by SF novelists long before literary fiction decided to follow suit.

Is Your Name Here?

The Man Asian Booker longlist of 23 unpublished works of fiction in English has been announced. (The largest number of submissions, says the press release, was from India.)

Perhaps These Posts Should Cease

In an essay on the worth of blogs (yes, another one) by The Atlantic's Ross Douthat, he begins with a few words of praise and then slips out his knife to say: "The flip side of this is that blogging is the enemy of literary craft and intellectual depth", going on to add: "If you want to be the next George Will or Paul Krugman, you'd be well-served to take up blogging now, because it'll make you a better pundit. If you want to be the next Ian McEwan or Philip Roth, or the next Alasdair McIntyre or Richard Rorty, I'd advise you to rip your internet cable out of the wall now, before it's too late."

Banville's Books

The books that mean the most to John Banville. The one classic he hasn't read. And the book he'd like his children to read.