Archive for December, 2005


I have news of novelist Vikram Chandra. I should state that I have personally had the pleasure of meeting Vikram in person (and of publishing and lecturing on his work), as also his Spanish translator and critic, Dr Dora Sales Salvador. ** On the Berkeley university site at: ** is an article dated 7 December 2005 – ‘UC Berkeley lecturer Vikram Chandra: From "weird little kid" in India to master storyteller — and winner of a publishing jackpot’ which, apart from some charming photos, conveys two important pieces of information. ** 1) Vikram’s coming novel, already famous for its remarkable publishers’ advance, at last has a title: SACRED GAMES. ** It appears that SACRED GAMES will be released first in India, in August 2006, and shortly after that in the US and UK. ** There will also be a fascinating translation dimension to the new book. On 1 January 2006 the Mumbai Mirror site – – reported: ‘The interesting thing about Sacred Games is that a Hindi translation of it is being published simultaneously with the release of the original. And if things go as planned, even a Marathi version will follow soon after.’ As if that were not enough, at: (THE WEEK – 1 January 2006) we are further informed that a translation into Malayalam is already in the pipeline! That will make three translations into Indian languages … ** 2) Not only this: on 11 December 2005 (not 8 December as the Berkeley site had it), Vikram got married in Los Angeles, to fellow writer Melanie Abrams. I sent Vikram an email to congraulate him and received a warm reply, in which he also corrected the date. In the first week of January 2006 the happy couple held a second (Hindu) wedding ceremony in Bombay (as Vikram prefers to call it). ** CONGRATULATIONS INDEED TO VIKRAM AND MELANIE!

NANCY: a Rodin in the park (tribute to Claude Lorrain)

It is probably little-known to art lovers that the Pépinière park, off Place Stanislas in Nancy (France) hides among its trees and bushes a fine work by Auguste Rodin, which you can see in the photo below. It is a tribute by one artist to another, Rodin’s homage to the celebrated landscape painter Claude Lorrain (or Claude Gelée – 1600-1682). Claude was actually born in the Lorraine region of which Nancy is the historic capital, at Chamagne, near Mirecourt in what is now the Vosges department. In 1627 he left for Rome, never to return: he pursued his entire artistic career in Italy. He is, however, represented by superb canvases in the city museums at Épinal, capital of the Vosges, and Nancy itself (the museum is a stone’s throw from the park). Rodin’s remarkable monument stands as an embodiment of art as dialogue, and indeed deserves to be better known.

VIKRAM SETH – A SUITABLE BOY: new critical anthology

I draw to your attention this new volume, in which I have a contribution: ** ‘Vikram Seth’s "A Suitable Boy": An Anthology of Recent Criticism’ ed. Murari Prasad Details at ** ISBN: 8185753725 Place of Publication: Delhi Publisher: Pencraft International Year of Publication: 2005 Physical Description: 180 pp., Notes; Bibliography Book Format: Hardcover Language: English ** Inner front cover text:** This collection of essays by diverse hands offers a critical appraisal of the disparate range of themes that make Vikram Seth’s panoramic novel, "A Suitable Boy", worth its weight and heft. It examines Seth’s extensive takes on the issues of inter-faith face-off, language politics, colonial hang-over in postcolonial India, modernity and gender inequity, caste prejudices, and several others in this multi-stranded Indian English novel. The interrogation of the author’s mode of narrating the nation with a variety of calling cards is consistently matched with an incisive probe into the complexity of characters and events located in the socio-cultural milieu of the early postcolonial India of nineteen-fifties. Besides, with Seth’s concise literary biography and a comprehensive bibliography for those who wish to explore the text further, this anthology is a resource which the readers and researchers can’t afford not to have. ** Murari Prasad (ed.) ** Murari Prasad is currently associate professor of English in the Faculty of Education in Sana’a University, Republic of Yemen. In India, he has taught English language and literature for over fifteen years at D.S. College, Katihar (Bihar). His professional interest include Indian English Literature as well as American and British fiction. He has published a string of papers, on Amitav Ghosh, V.S. Naipaul, Arundhati Roy and contributed on Upamanyu Chatterjee to the Contentsdictionary of Literary Biography (South Asian Writing). His latest project, language of contemporary Indian English Fiction, in addition to a festschrift volume for Professor Damodar Thakur is due to appear in the coming year. ** 1. Jane Austen and Vikram Seth: Uses of Realism in "A Suitable Boy" – Himansu S. Mohapatra and Jatindra K. Nayak 2. "Midnight’s Children" and "A Suitable Boy": Challenges of Rendering India Experience into English – Neelam Srivastava 3. ‘Swimming in a Sea of Language’: Linguistic Aspects of "A Suitable Boy" – Christopher Rollason 4. The Imbalance of Islam: Muslims and Unhappiness in Vikram Seth’s "A Suitable Boy" – Ian Almond 5. Muslims and Unhappiness in Vikram Seth’s "A Suitable Boy: a Response to Ian Almond – Murari Prasad 6. A Feminist Reading of Vikram Seth’s "A Suitable Boy" – Mala Pandurang 7. Passion and Prejudice: Deconstructing the Thematic Unity of "A Suitable Boy" – David Myers 8. Translating India into English: Vikram Seth’s "A Suitable Boy" – Felicity Hand 9. The Social Geography of "A Suitable Boy" – Cielo G. Festino

Added, 6 Feb 07.

A very comprehensive review of this book, reviewer: Dr Prasant K. Sinha,
formerly Professor and Head, Department of English, Pune University, appeared
in the Yemen Times:
Issue 1008, Volume 14, 18 December 2006.

The review is on-line at:

Also at the Yemen Times site is my response to Dr Sinha’s review:

I myself responded positively to this review, again in the Yemen Times, Issue 1021, Volume 14, 1 February 2007, Education Supplement, p.4.


My own contribution to the book can be found on-line at: