Friday, November 25, 2005

Five Point Someone

I admit it. I am a little biased when it comes to Indian authors. Having grown up on Victorian literature and Russian masters, with Mills and Boons, Sidney Sheldon, Wilbur Smith, Erich Segal and the rest of the motley crew thrown in for good measure, I never gave much thought to Indian writing in English, until recently. Ruskin Bond, though his books are largely meant for children, are very lucidly written. I dont somehow like the late R K Narayan's books. He is the greatest of the Indian writers. Maybe I should read him again.....

There are others too like Vikram Seth (his new book 'Two Lives' is out), Amitav Ghosh, Shashi Deshpande, Salman Rushdie (never liked his works much), V S Naipaul, Anita Nair and so many others. It was my English lecturer (and a close personal friend of the family) who got me reading on Amitav Ghosh. He thrust Ghosh's 'The Glass Palace' in my hands. I could not move past the first 20 pages but he urged me on and boy, was it good! It was unputdownable then on. That is he case with most of his books.

There are also hundreds of others who write one great book and disappear in the night without the world coming to know of their genius. I read this one book called 'Sunlight on a Broken Column' by Attia Hussain. It was about a Muslim girl who rebels against tradition. The story was ok but the way it was written was amazing. Some metaphors were such that I have never read their equivalent in even the best books. Then there was 'Cinnamon Gardens' by Shyam Selvasundaram about life in Sri Lanka. All good books, all unheard of... There are also the new age writers like Chetan Bhagat, about whom I am going to write in my next post.

There was a phase in life when I thought I could just not handle fiction anymore. I had always been way ahead of my years as far as the books I read was concerned. I had finished with Hardy Boys, Secret Seven, Famous Five, Nancy Drew by 12, Mills and Boons by 15, Sidney Sheldons by 16. I had started with Tolstoy, Dostovesky, Bronte sisters and other literature works by 10-11 years!! So by 19, i was sick of fiction and promised myself that I would only read serious works of non-fiction. i do, but I have also discovered Indian writers. So maybe a few more years....

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