Prufrock's Page

Friday, October 19, 2007

It Adds Up

In all the fuss over the "surprise" Booker win, one of the longlisted books seems to have been unfairly forgotten: Nikita Lalwani's Gifted. Here's an interview: "I was interested in the idea of standing out. There are quite a lot of of maths students in the Asian diaspora, and I think that's because math is not culturally specific. It's something like doing card tricks. But if you're gifted and doing accelerated learning, you're always in the spotlight. And while you're accelerated in that area, you're absolutely behind when it comes to emotional growth."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Then And Now

"(People) are less comfortable with novels. They don't have a backward frame of reference that would enable them to appreciate things like irony and allusions. It's sad." - John Updike.

"[Conditions for literary fiction] have deteriorated. There's just no doubt about it .... The status of literature was much higher when I began writing. There were a number of serious critics that was much greater than now. The number of serious readers was much greater than now. The number of distractions was much fewer than now." - Philip Roth

Quoting the above, The Star's Philip Marchand worries about the future of literary fiction.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Accusing Authors

There's a question that's driving Ann Patchett crazy: "Why are you so nice?"

Fans Who Write

One has so far stayed away from what's called fan fiction, preferring to read those who create characters and settings for themselves. And though some published authors wouldn't like to acknowledge their fan fiction writing past, this report has it that "even as the publishing world addresses the genre's legal issues, some of its executives say they are open-minded about discovering talent on popular fan fiction websites such as,, or" Gird your loins for many, many more episodes of Star Trek or even Dr Who.

Oh, Those Irish Writers...

Anne Enright, 45, has been awarded the Man Booker prize for what the judges called a "powerful, uncomfortable and even at times angry book", The Gathering.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Nobel Ways

"Dear members of the Academy, let's admit it, this time you've overdone it. I mean, come on, first you give the prize to a black man, then to a Jewish writer. Now you give it to a clown. What gives?"

- Dario Fo, to the members of the Nobel Academy. Quoted by John Sutherland in his piece on acceptance speeches of Nobel Literature Prizewinners.

The Disturbances Of Grace

"In the little every-day disturbances of individual human beings can be found the great dislocations of the history of humankind": S. Sankar's appreciation of Grace Paley

Two Cultures

"There's a sort of similarity in the way Hindus and Jews behave. They both belong to social religions - they are eating a lot, meeting a lot, being very hospitable, but as far as religious belief is concerned - they are not similar. But among a certain class of the two peoples, religion is not a crucial thing, and the community is much more important. So you can find atheistic Hindus and atheistic Jews, who are basically still Hindus and still Jews. I first noticed that when I was in Israel and had a Sabbath meal. The good-byes - from the time you say good-bye to the time you actually walk out the door - took about 45 minutes! I thought this is like being in Delhi."

- Ha'aretz interviews Vikram Seth