Posts Tagged ‘literary review’

I have managed to hold Adiga’s The White Tiger every now and then before my weary eyes for nearly two days. I must admit that I don’t like it and I find it to be very unoriginal. During the weekend, I also had a quick look at what the critics have had to say about this youngster winning the Booker Prize. On Sunday, I came across an atrocious article on the Literary Review section of The Hindu newspaper, which tore Mr Adiga apart for being “curiously inauthentic”. The critic, Amitava Kumar, apparently had a problem with the fact that the author wrote about Delhi without ever having visited the place. He proceeds to question the validity of his characters with acidic barbs such as “ the novelist seemed to know next to nothing about either the love or the despair of the people he was writing about” and “such is the impurity of our enterprise, as writers or as critics, that even in the act of proclaiming our freedom from the demands of authenticity”.

Well Mr Amitava (and the Editor of Hindu), I am shocked that you, as a writer for The Hindu, dare to comment on the lack of authenticity. We, the readers, are subject to browsing through hundreds of articles daily from your esteemed publication that are no more authentic than a paraplegic goat bleating abut the inadequacies of Zimbabwe’s Human Rights Commission. And don’t even get me started on the spectacularly bad features on Metro Plus that are so out of tune with the consciousness of today’s youth culture.

Most of all, a writer does not have experience something in order to write about it. By that logic, Douglas Adams should have been nailed to the cross for not having traveled through time, space, and the restaurant at the end of the universe. All he needed was a bag of magic mushrooms and a vapid sense of imagination. And also, case in point, Kiran Desai. She was born in Delhi and lived there until she was 14, moved to England and then consequently to the United States where she stays even now as a permanent resident. Yet Suchita Behal’s review of Inheritance Of Loss (on The Hindu Literary section, fittingly), she just stopped short of vomiting warm love all over this Booker Prize winner whose author had written a story about a “judge living out a disenchanted retirement in Kalimpong, a hill station in the Himalayan foothills”. I guess, Columbia University (where she studied creative writing) had a special Himalayan mock-up environment to make her feel all the more connected to the story. Ms Behal concludes the horrid piece by saying “That Desai has been listed for the Booker should come as no surprise. It is not often that one finds books written with joy, compassion and a rare candour”.

So I ask of you, Mr Amitava, have you ever written a Booker Prize-winning novel full of stories whose origins have no roots in your life? If not, how dare you gather that what inspired Mr Adiga was entirely not authentic. It’s a boring piece of literature, but definitely not deserving of 2,000 words of misguided criticism.

This chap also has the audacity to fondle with his own literary phallus by saying tripe like “At some level, realism had become my religion.”

No dear sir, it isn’t.

Envious condescension is your religion and N Ram – your god, for giving you the space no less the opportunity to even think about writing literary reviews.

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