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  • Kiran Desai wins Booker


    by Sunny
    11th October, 2006 at 2:03 am    

    kiranKiran Desai, daughter of the famous author Anita Desai, has won the Man Booker prize. According to the Beeb, Desai lived in India until the age of 15, then moved to England to continue her education and now lives in the US. She has become the youngest woman ever, at 35, to win the award. That honour was previously held by the lovable Arundhati Roy.

    Respeckk! Here is a profile on Kiran, and here’s a review of the book. On a related note, I’m currently reading Suketu Mehta’s Maximum City and it’s excellent. What are you folks reading? And has anyone read KD’s book?

    Update: Amitava Kumar pitches in.


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    Filed in: Culture






    36 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs


    1. Nav — on 11th October, 2006 at 3:01 am  

      Is it wrong that I was cheering for her just because she’s Indian?

    2. Sunny — on 11th October, 2006 at 3:53 am  

      Perfectly reasonable in my book (pardon the pun).

    3. Sid — on 11th October, 2006 at 9:07 am  

      Is talent hereditary?

    4. justforfun — on 11th October, 2006 at 10:09 am  

      Is talent hereditary?

      Not heard of Charles Darwin?

      Seriously - Nature/nurture - nurture/nature which is it?

      A pheasant pluckers son tends to be a pheasant plucker.

      It who you know , not what you know.

      Justforfun

    5. Leon — on 11th October, 2006 at 10:30 am  

      Is talent hereditary?

      Nope but culture and nationalised identity can be which is what I assume was being cheered?

      Anyway, at the mo I just finished reading Gordon Brown by Tom Bower, Brown fans read it and weep. This guy as PM, going by this account, will make Blair look like a saint!

      I’ve just started Imperial Ambitions, interviews with Noam Chomsky. As is typical of Prof. Chomsky it’s an illuminating read and one that goes some length to dislodging the daily propaganda of the corporate media. Highly recommended.

    6. Sam — on 11th October, 2006 at 10:32 am  

      “That honour was previously held by the lovable Arundhati Roy.”

      Great sarcasm there! with the ‘lovable’ bit. Lovely looker yes but genuine and objective ? I dont think so.

    7. justforfun — on 11th October, 2006 at 10:46 am  

      Nope but culture and nationalised identity can be

      Not in the biological sense I don’t think, but I presume you mean in the sense you can learn your parents’ prejudices by staying at home for too long.

      “Nationalised identity” - I like it - is this the latest thinking? - nostaligia for the 70′s seems to be in at the moment.

      Justforfun

      PS - Sorry - slow work day today.

    8. Vikrant — on 11th October, 2006 at 10:49 am  

      That honour was previously held by the lovable Arundhati Roy.

      Eek… the one book wonder is tad over rated…

      I’m currently reading Suketu Mehta’s Maximum City and it’s excellent.

      Havent finished it yet? Dude your paces is …. err.. slow.

      What are you folks reading?

      Rage and Pride by Oriana Fallaci.

    9. sonia — on 11th October, 2006 at 10:56 am  

      will check it out - she sounds interesting. talent may be hereditary sure - but usually the more obvious aspect is ..if you’ve got a famous parent it can work either way for you - either you’re held up in comparison which can be shitty, or it can be good - i.e. easier getting a publisher’s interest.

      *looks around for all those people who complain about how easy it is getting book deals for otherprivileged people*

      its not a problem cheering for her just cos she’s asian - as long as one’s not bothered about other people rooting for their ‘own’ etc.

      nowadays lots of people who try and get publishing contracts complain about how it’s easier for the desis in some respect - thanks to all the interest in postcolonialism etc. Everyone always appears to complain about someone else having an ‘advantage’ over them.

      Yeah maybe i need to think about getting into that game a bit more..;-)

    10. sonia — on 11th October, 2006 at 11:01 am  

      ah i see a question on what im reading. an incredibly fascinating book by Wilfred Thesiger - Arabian Sands - his travels through the Empty Quarter with the Bedouin - back in the day.

      KD’s book reminds me for some reason ( probably the reference to crumbling houses - what fun) of A Sin of Colour by Sunetra Gupta which starts off in a crumbing Calcutta mansion and spans a generation.. bittersweet and full of pathos.

    11. Jagdeep — on 11th October, 2006 at 11:40 am  

      I just ordered it from Amazonn and am so glad that she won. I love it when there is some good news from a desi artist or writer to counterbalance some of the nonsense. Anyway, I’m really glad, hopefully one day we’ll see a British Desi win the Booker Prize — although I have to tell you folks, it wont be Nirpal Dhaliwal :-)

      Are there any aspiring writers here? Didnt Kismet Hardy say he is writing a novel?

    12. Jagdeep — on 11th October, 2006 at 11:44 am  

      sonia it’s not cheering your own like a football team chauvinist but recognising someone with a similar background to yours succeeding in an artistic enterprise and taking inspiration from that. Personally I love reading about things like this. No harm.

    13. Jagdeep — on 11th October, 2006 at 11:47 am  

      Everyone always appears to complain about someone else having an ‘advantage’ over them.

      I read an interview with Gautam Malkani in which the interviewer said something about how a load of white writers he talked to after he got a big advance grumbled about another bloody ethnic minority writer stealing all our publishing limelight….hahaha…twats….they must be even more depressed this morning.

    14. Leon — on 11th October, 2006 at 11:49 am  

      *looks around for all those people who complain about how easy it is getting book deals for otherprivileged people*

      Yeah it was my first thought when I saw her interviewed this morning.

    15. Vikrant — on 11th October, 2006 at 3:11 pm  

      Rest assured it wont get a Booker prize… a Hooker prize.. maybe…

    16. Sunny — on 11th October, 2006 at 3:22 pm  

      but genuine and objective ? I dont think so.M

      Who exactly is objective these days? Though I think she is genuine. Ok she has a penchant for hyperbole but I love AR… Now please leave me to my illicit fantasies.

    17. Vikrant — on 11th October, 2006 at 3:27 pm  

      Now please leave me to my illicit fantasies.

      Fatasizing AR!!! I’m traumatised…

    18. Sid — on 11th October, 2006 at 3:55 pm  

      Yeah but you get off on Melanie Philips doood.

    19. Yakoub/Julaybib — on 11th October, 2006 at 4:13 pm  

      Current reading

      Majia Nadesan: Constructing Autism (London: Routledge)

      Not much of a fiction fan, personally. Nadesan is social science, but very readable. It kind of explains why there are 500 000 people with autism in the UK, when not long ago it wasn’t even 10 000. And why people like me who use to be politely called eccentrics now get called Aspies! Apparently, it’s all down to those bloody neurotypicals.

      See: http://www.neurodiversity.com/

      Wasalaam

      TMA

    20. Jagdeep — on 11th October, 2006 at 4:20 pm  

      Kamran Nazeer, who is a Brit-Pakistani journalist, wrote a book about autism recently - do an amazon search. It’s about his childhood at a school for autistic children in america.

    21. Nyrone — on 11th October, 2006 at 4:21 pm  

      My 3 books I’m reading:
      Osho - Glimpses of a golden childhood (words fail me)
      Jeremy Seabrook - No hiding place (tackling child sex tourism and legislation)
      Haruki Murakami - After the quake (some of the best short stories I’ve read)

      I have yet to read KD’s book…
      anyone recommend it here?

    22. Jagdeep — on 11th October, 2006 at 4:21 pm  

      Oh brother, fantasies about Arundhati Roy? The wet dreams of a tofu eater :-)

    23. Jagdeep — on 11th October, 2006 at 4:23 pm  

      Nyrone, it just won the Booker Prize, what more recommendation do you need!?? ;-)

      I am between books at the moment. Just finished Nirpal Dhaliwals novel - it was….alright. I will start reading Vikram Chandra’s ‘Sacred Games’ tonight.

    24. Nyrone — on 11th October, 2006 at 4:41 pm  

      The booker what??

      anyone going to watch this award-winning film?
      an Indian ‘falling down’? I’m there!

      http://www.lff.org.uk/films_details.php?FilmID=1006

    25. Jagdeep — on 11th October, 2006 at 4:46 pm  

      Damn that film looks interesting….

    26. Vikrant — on 11th October, 2006 at 7:31 pm  

      Hey thats a Marathi film you mention Nyrone… what a surprise… Marathi films are generally more serious and less glamorous than their Hindi or South Indian counterparts… its a pity very few people bother checking them out.

    27. Zak — on 11th October, 2006 at 7:37 pm  

      Congrats Miss Desai, I heard about the book on 5 live and it sounds pretty good!

    28. Desi Italiana — on 11th October, 2006 at 8:55 pm  

      I haven’t read the book yet, but will do so now!

      “What are you folks reading?”

      Books I read recently-right after I finished that damn thesis, I was so ecstatic about not having to read anything on topic anymore and thus able to read what I want, I went to the university library and checked out the books that I had been dying to read:

      1. Cracking India: Bapsi Sidwha. I really, really enjoyed this book.

      2. The Other Side of Silence: Urvashi Butalia. Interviews of Partition survivors. I got really teary eyed reading some of the stories. Very good book.

      3. The Royal Ghosts: Samrat Upadhyay. Very refreshing to hear stories that didn’t involve messed up arranged marriages and miserable women. I thought his stories were powerfully subtle.

      4. Butter Chicken in Ludhiana: Pankaj Mishra. A travelogue. I like his writing and his observations.

      5. Beach Boy: Ardashir Vakil. Eh- The book was ok. I wasn’t too thrilled by it partly because of the protagonist of the novel who annoyed me. But if the protagonist is able to invoke emotion in the reader, it usually means that the writer was successful in being an effective writer. But the storyline is ok.

      6. Salaam Mamma (name of author escapes me at the moment): A book in Italian by a Persian writer. A beautiful book about a boy growing up in pre and post Islamic Revolution Tehran.

    29. sonia — on 11th October, 2006 at 11:27 pm  

      now the fun thing about literary prizes - well certainly the Booker anyway ( i keep getting annoyed at having to refer to it as the Man Booker..bloody corporates) is no self-published books are eligible. isn’t that nice.

    30. Sunny — on 11th October, 2006 at 11:46 pm  

      I’ve heard Sacred Games is good and I also want to read Pankaj Mishra’s first called the End of Suffering. Really like Haruki Murakami too.

      Ooooh! That film looks really interesting Nyrone. Might go see it.

    31. Desi Italiana — on 12th October, 2006 at 12:43 am  

      Sonia:

      “well certainly the Booker anyway ( i keep getting annoyed at having to refer to it as the Man Booker..bloody corporates) is no self-published books are eligible. isn’t that nice.”

      Well, there is often a trend of certain themes that seem to win prizes.

      Themes that publishing houses think will “sell”.

      I am about as pissed of as you are about the corporatism of publishing and books.

    32. sonia — on 12th October, 2006 at 12:13 pm  

      yeah Desi - you know what i mean - it was bad enough before and its even worse now - the agglomeration of the publishing sector is terrible. Bertelsmann owns practically everything now! and then all the bookshops being bought up by some huge monolith. and all the little ones find it difficult to survive. i used to go to this little discount one in covent garden but they had to close down recently - i know the prices in the areas for the outlets were going up really high thanks to the Council. Sigh.

      so given how impossible it is to get a book deal - and you really have to sell out even if you get one - crappy contract, only a bit of money, they change bits so it can sell -i mean one might get lucky - but pretty rarely. it makes sense in as much its all obviously commercial - all about what’s going to sell. so then people might be like to not prostitute my art they’d rather self-publish or something - ah but the literary lot won’t consider them ‘books’. why not!?. very elitist and unpleasant.

      i have to say kiran seems like a nice lady and her book sounds interesting and im happy for her, but she made a comment about the publishing world in an interview - ( after her first book) i wasn’t at all impresssed with:

      http://www.randomhouse.com/boldtype/0599/desai/interview.html

      “The publishing world is growing smaller, which is very nice.”

      is it?

      well i suppose she was talking to a publishing outfit so may not have wanted to bring up issues of political economy but still! or perhaps ive misinterpreted it.

      big fat corporates

    33. saurav — on 13th October, 2006 at 6:06 am  

      the agglomeration of the publishing sector is terrible.

      I have heard that Barnes and Nobles in the U.S. uses a system called pay-to-play. Publishers offer a certain amount of money or speakers and the books are in exchange placed more or less prominently.

      Lovely.

      I’m reading three histories of immigration to the U.S.:

      Impossible Subjects by Mae Ngai, A Nation By Design by Aristide Zollberg, and a book by Roger(s?) Daniel(s?) the name of which I can’t recall. And want to start a collection by Eqbal Ahmed.

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    36. Jagdeep — on 7th November, 2006 at 11:17 am  

      Oh God. This is making me want to puke.

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