Lit Feature

Bridges, not barriers

Delhi’s new literary festival is an appropriately polyglot affair ♦ If India is, as Mark Twain put it, “the country of a hundred nations and a hundred tongues”, then Delhi is the place where all  these nations and tongues inevitably meet. This fortnight, a new festival acknowledges the importance of the capital as a literary destination …

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Found in translation

The man behind a flood of translations is swept up in his work ♦ Nearly 15 years had passed since Arunava Sinha translated Chowringhee at the request of the Bengali classic’s author, Sankar. Back then, in 1992, Sinha was embarking on his professional career and considered his bridge translation (an English draft for a French edition) …

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Damn nation

 Siddartha Deb finds life less than shiny in the new India ♦ In The Beautiful and Damned, F Scott Fitzgerald’s profligate main characters embody the two adjectives in the title. The novel – an attempt to critique the excesses of America’s jazz age – ended up as a rather self-indulgent byproduct of it instead. Fitzgerald’s narrative …

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RT Book Reviews

Magazine review ♦ Name: RT Book Reviews Circulation: 70,000 Date of Birth: 1981 Frequency: Monthly Price: $4.99 In a little brick building in Brooklyn, the offices of RT Book Reviews (formerly known as Romantic Times) are divided between two suites. In one, paperbacks and curios line shelves set in converted fireplaces and against a wall painted with pink …

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Sex and Sidi

Meet Sidi Ibrahima, a pulp fiction author in Harlem ♦ Harlem’s 125th Street is a bazaar of cottage industry products: incense and earrings, knit hats and demo CDs. But the goods on one table near Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard are more colorful than the rest. Bright books with racy covers are spread over the stand. …

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Charred minars

Pakistani novelist Kamila Shamsie surveys the world from Guantanamo to Peshawar in an interview ♦ Extending from the callousness of the Nagasaki bombing to the compassion of a spider whose web hid the Prophet Mohammed, Pakistani author Kamila Shamsie’s fifth novel, Burnt Shadows, won praise from critics for its scope and detailing. Shamsie’s characters survive (or …

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Like a surgeon

In Abraham Verghese’s debut novel, fate is stitched together with sutures ♦ Abraham Verghese is a man of science and fact. His experiences as a doctor in small-town Tennessee in the mid-1980s during the early years of the AIDS epidemic led to his first book, the well-received My Own Country: A Doctor’s Story.  After a flurry …

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Eternal outsider

Abraham Verghese talks about Cutting for Stone and the idea of home ♦ This interview was conducted for a feature in Time Out Delhi. Could you tell me a bit about how your family came to be in Ethiopia and the background of Malayalis in that country? I am told that Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia …

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