Monday, January 02, 2006

Fawning Over Themselves: Vikram Chandra in the media

The Literary Saloon links to a slew of interviews with Vikram Chandra. For his upcoming book Sacred Games he got some kind of ungodly advance from his American publisher, and that is Topic #1 for the interviewers in the Indian press:

The Hindu
Indian Express
DNA India

The new book deals with the Mumbai underworld -- a hot topic -- but I find it a little irritating that the interviewers all lead off with the "So you got a big advance..." question. I'm more interested in the writing than the money, personally.

However, the Indian Express interviewer did ask a question about blogs, eliciting an intriguing response from Chandra:

You have been a software consultant in the US and have taken a keen interest in technology. Do you see the Internet and blogs as effective tools for writers? Can they bring about a revolution?

Blogs are a revisualisation of the classical diary form. What you’re writing is a diary, but you’re doing it in an instantly accessible format. The audience is conceivably global. What it also indicates is that we are starting to think about about the self much more. Blogs reiterate the notion that the self exists in the public eye, one of the central thrusts of the 21st century. But blogs cannot satisfy the human mind’s hunger for narrative and plot. I want that dead body, and I want the mystery to unfold. Traditional narratives will always be important. It will have newer reincarnations.

I'm not sure what Chandra means when he refers to the "central thrusts of the 21st century." Does the 21st century have a thrust yet? (Personally, I'm just waiting until 2010, so I can start referring to the current decade as the "teens"; it's very annoying to be in the midst of the '00s; there is no handy one-word verbal descriptor for the current years. If you say "the zeroes," your listener may not know what you're talking about.)

But I like the reference to the "dead body" -- narrative and plot -- though I think some people's personal blogs do quite a bit with that as well. Like epistolary novels (one of the novel's most traditional forms), they play out the plots of lived experience on a daily basis: the reader keeps coming back to find out what happened next.


sepoy said...

maybe someone can tell mr. chandra that blogging is a 'medium' not a 'genre'. sheesh.

1:01 PM  
Amardeep said...

That's the thing with novelists; they assume everything is a species of literature.

My own blog doesn't work as a "narrative" form, though some people do blog with a strong emphasis on narrative progress...

12:08 PM  
borges2 said...

Have you seen "The Dying Gaul" (2005)? There is a particularly astute observation made by the protagonist in regard to the chat rooms he visits, which may have well been a critique on the state of certain blogs:
"all this karma colliding and going nowhere."
That is not an insult on your work, which I find to be very well done. However, if you do keep up with certain Southeast Asian blogs (SM), the thinly veiled homogeneity…well, it’s just dull

2:49 PM  
Amardeep said...

Borges2, actually the term is "South Asian," not "Southeast Asian." We're talking about the Indian subcontinent, not so much Burma or Thailand.

Sorry you think there's homogeneity; I disagree. The topics of my posts have overlapped with Sepia Mutiny only once in the past month (and that was the cover of the Washington Post last week).

3:03 PM  
flygirl said...

for the '00s - try "the noughties," short, descriptive with the necessary lame joke.

8:52 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home