New Indian reality fiction takes Asian centrestageNovember 3rd, 2011 - 4:12 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Nov 3 (IANS) The new Indian fiction that combines philosophy, history and key social concerns has come of age on the Asian literary stage with five Indian authors on the long-list of the Man Asian Literary Prize.
An analysis of the long-list reveals that concerns that confront the country in this age of global conflicts, clash of vested interests and indiscriminate urbanisation dominate the stories.
Journalist-turned-activist and writer Anuradha Roy’s book “The Folded Earth”, for example, tells the story of Maya, who moves to a remote town in the Himalayas to get on in life. She teaches at a local school in the day and at night types the draft of a book that her landlord Diwan Sahib is writing.
Maya finds a reason to live when Diwan Sahib’s nephew comes to Ranikhet.
Roy, who mostly works out of Ranikhet, says she does not miss the life in big cities. “The Himalayas are full of stories,” Roy told IANS in an informal chat recently.
Roy says the picturesque town of Ranikhet helps her explore wider creative frontiers.
Jahnavi Barua’s “Rebirth” explores the mother-daughter bond between a woman Kaberi, trapped in an unhappy marriage, and her unborn child.
It is a tale of the new Indian woman, caught between changing times, conventions and psychological complexities arising from the 21st century Indian urban lifestyles.
Writer-journalist Tarun Tejpal’s “The Valley of Masks” is about a quest, battle and redemption set amid the lush beauty of the hills - where warriors or “wafadars” are trained to seek truth and justice in a world riven with corruption and half-truths - and where everyone dons a mask.
Tejpal describes the book as a personal interpretation of the Indian epics and the spiritual tales he read as a young man.
“I was a voracious reader. In college, I took time off academic schedule just to read,” Tejpal recounted.
Rahul Bhattacharya’s “The Sly Company of People Who Care” and Amitav Ghosh’s “River of Smoke”, which are also on the long-list, take a look at the world outside India and the Indians who peopled it.
Bhattacharya, who last week won The Hindu Literary Prize for the best fiction in 2011, tells the story of a young Indian who leaves behind his job and the deadness of life to go and live in Guyana — a nation that he initially finds mesmerizing.
But gradually, he begins to note that the departure from home can be ridden with complications as he encounters the history of the African slaves and Indian labourers brought to Guyana by colonialists.
Amitav Ghosh’s “River of Smoke” - the second of the three-part Ibis trilogy and the sequel to the “Sea of Poppies” - chronicles India’s opium trail in China and the “Bombay merchants who transacted it under the aegis of the British flag in the 18th century”.
The book casts a sympathetic light on China and the helplessness of the Parsi merchants who were forced to peddle opium to the Chinese.
It is a part of history that has not been documented, the writer says.
- Long-list of Man Asian Literary Prize (To go with New Indian fiction takes Asian centrestage) - Nov 03, 2011
- Jeet Thayil's novel makes Booker Prize longlist - Jul 26, 2012
- Opium Wars sparked off Chinese nationalism: Writer Julia Lovell - Aug 01, 2011
- 14 authors on South Asian literature prize long-list - Sep 21, 2010
- Rahul Bhattacharya wins British fiction prize - May 29, 2012
- Setting sail from India to China on 'River of Smoke' (IANS Book Review) - Aug 06, 2011
- Moving beyond mere travellers' tales (Feature, IANS Books) - Jul 28, 2011
- Dreams, movies, philosophy on bookshelf (IANS Books This Week) - Jul 28, 2011
- Vivid tale of Guyana and its nostalgic Indians (IANS Book Review) - Apr 22, 2011
- Literature is important, says Vinay Pathak - Sep 13, 2012
- Underworld, Tagore and charity on book shelf (IANS Books This Week) - Dec 17, 2011
- Sahitya Akademi to honour four northeastern writers - Aug 04, 2011
- Of wars, tsunami, republic and Satyajit Ray (IANS Books This Week) - May 19, 2011
- Myanmarese dissident writer to attend Kovalam literary fest - Sep 12, 2009
- Amitav Ghosh, Sunil Gangopadhyay shortlisted for Hindu prize - Sep 26, 2011
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