Archive for October, 2006


The Indian novelist Sunny Singh (latest book : WITH KRISHNA’s EYES, 2006 –
a work I shall be returning to) has been a good friend of mine since we met
at a seminar in CORDOBA, Spain, in June this year (see entry on this
blog for 23 May 2006). A few weeks ago, when I happened to be in the UK on
a flying visit, we met for a most enjoyable lunch at the Maharaja
restaurant on Queensway, in London. A few days later at my parents’ house I
told my brother John (who lives in London) about Sunny and showed him my
signed copy of her book.
Imagine my surprise when, last week, I received a mail from Sunny saying
that she had been for the first time to a reading club meeting at a
friend’s house, where she met a young man who enquired about her latest
book and who, as she realised in 30 seconds flat, turned out to be … my
I shall be reviewing Sunny’s novel later this autumn. Meantime I am amazed
and gratified by what I can only call a ruchly Indian synchroniity, a
palpable instance, as Sunny says, of karma …
Sunny’s excellent website, with lots of photos and details of her books, is
Also, at:
you can find her blog, with articles and short stories. Do explore!

Indeed, I add on 4 Dec 06 that Sunny has, at the above blog for today, posted a very lively piece, also on our encounters!

Below are 2 photos from the Maharaja: Sunny taken by me, and Sunny and myself kindly taken by the waiter.



Further to my earlier blog entries on the subject (30 May and 26 July
2006), it is now my pleasure to post details of the Portuguese launch of
eds. Mark Sabine and Adriana Alves de Paula Martins (University of
Manchester Press, Manchester Spanish and Portuguese Studies, 2006). The British launch was held in Manchester on 10
May. The Portuguese event will take place at 6 p.m. on Monday, 13 November
2006 at the FLAD (Luso-American Development Foundation), 21 rua do
Sacramento à Lapa, Lisbon. The main speech will be by Dr Ana Paula Arnaut
of the University of Coimbra, and José Saramago himself is expected to
Details of book:
In Dialogue with Saramago: Essays in comparative literature is a collection
of new studies of Saramago’s work, written by some of the world’s leading
specialists in contemporary Portuguese literature. As one of the first
English-language volumes to be published on this internationally acclaimed
author, it is aimed both at literary scholars and at fans of Saramago’s
novels, and uses a comparative approach to build up an overview of his
40-year long writing career. Comparisons of Saramago’s works with those of
Günter Grass, Gabriel García Márquez and Gore Vidal offer an assessment in
the context of the contemporary international literary scene. Meanwhile,
Saramago’s contribution to literary traditions within Portugal is traced by
readings relating his work to that of Camões, Pessoa and Camilo Castelo
Branco. Other essays illuminate relationships with some of the
best-established figures in literary history, from Dante, Cervantes and
Dostoevsky to Borges, Orwell and Camus, in order to complete a picture of
Saramago’s work within contemporary delineations of the canon of western
literature. The volume also contains a critical introduction that focuses
on Saramago’s assessment of the political implications of quoting and
rewriting, and that briefly reviews a number of existing comparative
studies of Saramago’s work in both English and Portuguese.


Mark Sabine & Adriana Alves de Paula Martins,
Introduction: Saramago and the politics of quotation 1

Ellen W. Sapega, Saramago’s ‘genius’: Camões, Adamastor,
and Ricardo Reis 25

David Frier, Of false dons and missed opportunities, or how
Calisto Elói and Ricardo Reis failed Portugal 37

Orlando Grossegesse, About words, tears, and screams:
Dante’s Commedia revisited by Borges and Saramago 57

Helena Carvalhão Buescu, The encounter as failure to meet:
Saramago’s Todos os Nomes and Dostoevsky’s White Nights 81

M. Irene Ramalho Santos, All the names: José Saramago and
lyric poetry 91

Christopher Rollason, How totalitarianism begins at home:
Saramago and George Orwell 105

José N. Ornelas, Convergences and divergences in Saramago’s
Ensaio sobre a Cegueira and Camus’s The Plague 121

Mark Sabine, Levantado do Chão after One Hundred Years of Solitude: the
telling of time and truth in Saramago and García Márquez 141

Adriana Alves de Paula Martins, The poetics of correction in
Gore Vidal’s Burr and Saramago’s História do Cerco de Lisboa 163

Paulo de Medeiros, Saramago and Grass 177


Just out in Delhi is an important new volume of critical essays on
Arundhati Roy,
edited by Murari Prasad. I add that I took part in some of the peer-reading
and have a credit for my pains; also that one of the contributors is
Antonia Navarro Tejero, whose work and devotion to things Indian are
mentioned elsewhere on thisd blog.

ed. Murari Prasad –
(Associate professor of English, Faculty of Arts, Sana’a University,
ISBN: 8185753768
Place of Publication: Delhi
Publisher: Pencraft International
Edition: 1st ed.
Year of Publication: 2006
Physical Description: 211p., Bibliography; Index; 23cm.
Book Format: Hardcover
Language: English


This volume brings together several of the seminal studies on Arundhati
Roy, the author of intense and absorbing fiction as well as richly
thought-out non-fiction. The contributors, all widely acknowledged scholars
from India and the West, problematize the varied and yet amazingly cohering
aspects of Roy’s entire oeuvre; and offer a sophisticated and incisive
critique of her published work to date. What recurringly comes under close
scrutiny is the tension and strife triggered by hierarchical structures of
our making; and the appropriations of individuals, communities and
societies lethally trapped at the lower rungs of hierarchy under
neocolonial dispensation. Sharply focused and highly perceptive, the volume
makes for an arresting and delightful reading of the literary and cultural
landscape of Arundhati Roy, exploring the deep and abiding concerns of one
of the finest contemporary writers in English from the Indian subcontinent.
Foreword by Bill Ashcroft
Introduction by Murari Prasad
1. The Currency of Arudhati Roy by Amitava Kumar
2. Reading Arundhati Roy Politically by Aijaz Ahmad
3. Dangerous Artisans: Anarchic Labour in Michael Ondaatje’s The
English Patient and Anil’s Ghost and Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small
Things by Campbell Hall-Devon
4. The God of Small Things: Arundhati Roy’s Postcolonial
Cosmopolitanism by Alex Tickell
5. Circular Time: A Study of Narrative Techniques in Arundhati
Roy’s The God of Small Things by Madhu Benoit
6. In Desire and in Death: Eroticism as Politics in Arundhati
Roy’s The God of Small Things by Brinda Bose
7. Power Relationships in The God of Small Things by Antonia Navarro Tejero
8. "Globalizing Dissent"? Arundhati Roy, Local and Postcolonial
Feminisms in the Transnational Economy by Julie Mullaney
9. Tallying Bodies: The Moral math of Arundhati Roy’s
Non-Fiction by Bishnupriya Ghosh
10. Articulating the marginal: Arundhati Roy’s Writings by Murari Prasad
11. A Writer’s Place in Society, An Interview with Arundhati Roy by N. Ram
Reviews of the book:
‘The Mistress of English Prose’, review by
Dr R.S.Sharma Professor of English, Faculty of Languages, Sana’a University, Yemen
Issue 1023 Vol 14, 8-12 Feb 07,

‘Reading Arundhati Roy’, review by
in THE HINDU, 30 Jan 07,


IACLALS (Indian Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies) Newsletter
Jan 07
pp 6-7 review by Mala Pandurang



Para complementar mi reciente reseña, disponible en línea en:
del volumen:
Shyama Prasad Ganguly, ed.,
"Quixotic Encounters: Indian Responses to the Knight from Spain"
(véase tambiém mi entrada de bitácora del 27-IX-2006),
ahora puedo informar que se acaba de publicar una nueva traducción al hindi
de la primera parte del ‘Quijote’ de Cervantes. Se trata de la primera
versión del gran clásico en cualquiera de las lenguas de la India que haya
sido traducida directamente a partir del original cervantino, sin pasar por
alguna de las versiones en lengua inglesa.
Seguirá la traducción hindi de la segunda parte de la novela.
Traductora: Vibha Maurya (University of Delhi). Ficha técnica:
Delhi: Confluence International, 2006 – ISBN: 81-86425-34-9
Patrocinan la traducción: la Dirección General del Libro (España), la
Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional, y la Embajada de España en


Further to my recent review, available on-line at:
of the book:
Shyama Prasad Ganguly, ed.,
"Quixotic Encounters: Indian Responses to the Knight from Spain"
and to my blog entry for 27 September 2006,
I can now add that a new translation into Hindi of Part I of Cervantes’
"Don Quijote" has now been published. This is the first ever version in an
Indian language to be done direct from the Spanish without going through an
existing English version.
The Hindi translation of Part II of the novel is to follow.
The translator is Vibha Maurya (University of Delhi). Publication details:
Delhi: Confluence International, 2006 – ISBN: 81-86425-34-9
The translation was sponsored by the Dirección General del Libro (Spain),
the Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional, and the Embassy of Spain
in India.

EL PAÍS showcases India at Frankfurt Book Fair (and cites a text of mine) – EL PAÍS HONRA A LA INDIA EN LA FERIA DE FRANCFORT (y cita texto mío)

As many will know, this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair features India as guest
of honour. The Fair is being widely publicised outside Germany, and in
Spain EL PAÍS of 30 September 2006 (supplement BABELIA, pp. 1-6) contains a
whole series of features on Indian writing (‘India en la Feria de
Francfort: Un universo literario’ – ‘India at the Frankfurt Fair – a
Literary World’):
Particularly to be noted are:
– a review of the Spanish translation of Vikram Seth’s TWO LIVES (DOS
VIDAS, trans. Damián Alou, Barcelona: Anagrama, 2006) – ‘Una crónica
familiar’ (‘A family chronicle’), by J. Aguado, p. 6:
– and ‘Las fecundas escisiones indias’ (‘India’s fertile divisions’), by
Josep M. Sarriegui (p. 4),
– a list of Internet references in English and (mostly) Spanish, among
which are:
an essay in Spanish on the problems of translation into Spanish from Indian
and other postcolonial literatures, by Carmen Valero, Mustapha Taibi and
Dora Sales Salvador (the latter’s work features elsewhere on this blog):
and to my own essay (Spanish version) on Manju Kapur’s novel ‘Difficult
Daughters’, described as ‘un amplio y riguroso estudio crítico’ (‘a
wide-ranging and rigorous critical study’):
I am greatly honoured to have my work recommended in EL PAÍS!!


Como muchos sabrán, en la Feria del Libro de Francfort de este año lucirá,
como país invitado, la India. Esta edición está recibiendo mucha publicidad
fiuera de Alemania, y en este marco EL PAÍS del 30 de septiembre de 2006
(suplemento BABELIA, pp. 1-6) contiene una amplia gama de textos sobre la
literatura india (‘India en la Feria de Francfort: Un universo literario’ ):
Subrayamos, en particular:
– una reseña de la traducción al castellano de TWO LIVES, de VIKRAM SETH
(DOS VIDAS), tr. Damián Alou, Barcelona: Anagrama, 2006) – ‘Una crónica
familiar’, por J. Aguado, p. 6:
– y ‘Las fecundas escisiones indias’, por Josep M. Sarriegui (p. 4),
– listado de referencias Internet, en inglés o (mayoritariamente) en
castellano, entre las cuales:
un ensayo en castellano sobre la problemática de la traducción hacia ese
idioma de textos poscoloniales, indios u otros, firmado por Carmen Valero,
Mustapha Taibi y Dora Sales Salvador (la obra de ésta última tiene su
rincón en otras partes de esta bitáciora)
– e igualmente a mi propio estudio (versión castellana) de la novela ‘Hijas
difíciles’ (‘Difficult Daughters’) de Manju Kapur, ensayo califiicado como
‘un amplio y riguroso estudio crítico’:

¡¡Es un gran honor ver mi trabajo citado en EL PAÍS!!

Reviewed: volume of essays on Jayanta Mahapatra, major Indian poet

Now on-line at:
is my review of the following book:

Jaydeep Sarangi and Gauri Shankar Jha, eds., The Indian Imagination of
Jayanta Mahapatra,
New Delhi: Sarup & Sons, 2006, hard covers, xii + 193 pp., ISBN
I hope this review will help stimulate wider interest in contemporary
Indian Poetry in English, of which genre Mahapatra is a major exponent.


Jayanta Mahapatra, born in 1928 and hailing from a Christian background in
Orissa, occupies a special place in the canon of Indian poetry in English,
having lived in India all his life and hence remaining outside the resident
vs. expatriate debate, and (as of recent years) writing both in English and
in his native Oriya, thus straddling the English vs. Indian languages
divide. The present volume, edited by Dr Jaydeep Sarangi of Vidyasagar
University (Midnapore, West Bengal) and Dr Gauri Shankar Jha (Indira Gandhi
Govt. College, Tezu, Arunachal Pradesh), brings together a multiplicity of
perspectives on one of India’s foremost contemporary poets.

The volume consists of 18 pieces, individual or joint, by a total of 20
contributors, all both Indian and India-resident. Of these, one is a
tribute poem, one an interview (conducted by Jaydeep Sarangi) with the poet
himself, another a study of Mahapatra’s English-language short stories and
another a discussion of his Oriya poetry. The remaining 14 focus on his
poetic production in English: here we may note that, while Mahapatra views
himself as an Oriya poet writing primarily, though not exclusively, in
English, he has no qualms about the use of the English language in India.
Clearly, the poet does not view writing in English as an obstacle to the
expression of Indianness.

Jayanta Mahapatra is beyond doubt an eloquent poet of the human and natural
worlds, but the aspect of his work primarily focused on in this collection
is his role as a denunciatory bard of the history of India and Orissa –
history being understood as a procession of events that includes and
determines the present. For the poet, Orissa is ‘the land … where the
wind keens over the grief of the river Daya and where the waves of the Bay
of Bengal fail to reach out today to the twilight soul of Kanark’. These
words point up his identification with both the dense cultural heritage and
the day-to-day suffering of his region of India.


Addition, 22 June 07 (see blog entry for that date):

This review has now been published in the 2006 issue (Vol XII, No 2), pp. 36-37, of SUMMERHILL, the review of
IAAS (the Indian Institute of Advanced Study), based in Simla.