“LE NOUVEL OBSERVATEUR”, 14-20 MAY 2009: INTERVIEW WITH VIKRAM CHANDRA (AND AN ERROR)

The 14-20 May 2009 issue of the Paris weekly LE NOUVEL OBSERVATEUR is billed as an ‘India special’, and features, inter alia, a long interview with Vikram Chandra: ‘La justice ou le chaos’ [‘Justice or chaos’)’, pp. 46-47; interviewers: François Armanet and Gilles Anquetil).

 

The interview text is on-line at:

http://hebdo.nouvelobs.com/hebdo/parution/p2323/articles/a401293-.html?xtmc=vikramchandra&xtcr=1

 

The novelist, whose SACRED GAMES (in French LE SEIGNEUR DE BOMBAY) has proved a big seller and critical success in France, talks on his reasons for writing that novel, the interrelations between the underworld and the rest of society (including institutions like the intelligence service), the extent to which his novel prefigured the Bombay bomb attacks, and the strengths and challenges of Indian democracy.

 

He stresses (p. 46 – I re-translate from the French) ‘the way crime impregnates the diverse facets of my city’: ‘The detective novel has always had that function, since the Memoirs of Vidocq. The investigator explores all the strata of the city, historical and social, and as he unveils the links between the world of the rich and the underworld, between past and present, the reader creates a map of the world’.

 

The interview is of major interest, and also indicates Vikram Chandra’s rising profile in France. Unfortunately, though, there is a flagrant error when, again on p. 46, he is described as ‘l”auteur des "Tigres d’Allah"’, i.e. as the author [sic] of "The Srinagar Conspiracy" (the title is different in French), a novel published in 2000 by *another* Vikram (A.) Chandra, an Indian TV presenter. This is not the first time this error has appeared in the French press: I only hope those responsible will be made aware of it and that it will be the last …

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