Sunday, September 20, 2009
TOO PERFECT A MIMICRY?
It's become acceptable somehow to say that Indian writers are unreadable.
Even the most avid of readers amongst my friends abhor Indian writers and avoid them like the plague. I can't say I'm not guilty myself- given a choice I'd pick lamentations over eighteenth century industrialisation over India's overused colonial hangover, or that oh-so-universal sense of desolation of being brought up abroad.

The thing though, is that the writers don't write badly at all. On the contrary, most Indian writers I've picked up have a way with words. A random book by an English or American author lacks a flow of words, a sense of sound and composition- writers in India are typically completely at ease with words. The thing though, is that at some point they decide that how they say things is all that matters- and plot is no longer even a consideration... so stories steal along for three hundred pages, then taper of into nothingness...
I know the standard argument to that- the stories aim at imitating real life. And real life never does offer neat packages. But open endings are an oxymoron, and real life can afford it because it doesn't need to be confined to 20,000 words!

Damn it, Kiran Desai's book had nothing- no plot, not even a change in the character's position at the end of the book. Secrets and Lies, by Jaishree Mishra, which had an interesting premise, needs a better resolution. The Immigrant has to get over the jet lag and indulge in doing something!
Stories are meant to tell tales- not reflect meekly on the thoughts of character- not merely that, anyway. And undoubtedly, I have no sense of literary ideas.
posted by Clezevra @ 10:18 AM  
2 Comments:
  • At September 21, 2009 at 8:01 AM, Blogger Death On Two Legs said…

    You know, I've often felt that Indian writers are slightly awkward and ponderous in their wording as well. The older ones, at least.

    Of course the ones I take a liking to, I REALLY like. They have a sense of the dramatic for sure.

     
  • At September 24, 2009 at 1:16 AM, Blogger Kirra Serra said…

    I do find myself agreeing with you completely. I never really said they cant write (well, chetan bhagat really can't). It is just that the all have the same 'twang'. Read one, read all.
    The mundane everyday is just so... well, mundane.
    What we need are people like Amitav Ghosh. Experiment with different themes. Writing about India is not only about Delhi/Calcutta/Bombay. It can be about the Sunderbans. It can be Bihar.
    Even Curses in Ivory used the theme of generations magically.

     
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