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You are here: oxfordbookstore.com » Archives » In Our Good Books » The New Writers Inc.
Published on Thu, Sep 11, 2008 at 19:11 In Our Good Books - The New Writers Inc.

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Has Indian writing in English ‘come of age’ finally? The much-debated idea is still being commented upon as the new breed of authors weans their readers of the post-colonial leanings replete in earlier writings. How pertinent is this thought? For literature is a process, an evolving process. It may be a subject for the critics. But literature - that moves, stirs, inspires, rages, defies, accepts and heals - goes beyond the periphery of the ‘discipline’.

What is it in contemporary Indian English fiction that’s being read, re-read and being written and re-written about? The authors are young and their themes are ‘younger’. Their thoughts reflect trends that are beginning to be heard in our society. The language of their heart is where they belong to, the expression English, rather Indian English. They explore, the publishers reap and the readers delight…Welcome to the world of New Writers Inc. that acts locally but thinks globally.

It was not long when this new literary enterprise was born in India. In writing their first novels, Rupa Bajwa, Rana

In Our Good Books - The New Writers Inc. In Our Good Books - The New Writers Inc. In Our Good Books - The New Writers Inc. In Our Good Books - The New Writers Inc. In Our Good Books - The New Writers Inc.
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Dasgupta, Sarnath Banerjee, Samit Basu, Chetan Bhagat, Lavanya Sankaran and Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi, belong to a time in the recent past that witnessed the best experimental fiction written out of India. As we read our stories, retold from a fresh perspective, we also viewed and felt the atypical ideas portrayed in Indian cinema lately.

“Interesting times” indeed. For Indian English fiction found an ‘appetizer’ (if I can call so) in the creative outpouring of these first-time writers. That all of them are between 25 – 36 years makes us positively apprehensive about the stuff that ‘their world’ is made of.

It was Rupa Bajwa’s story of a conscientious worker in The Sari Shop (2004), depicting the complex nuances of the civilization-savagery binary in urban India that went on to win the Orange Prize later on. Australia-based film writer and director, Robert Hutchinson was so enamoured by Rana Dasgupta’s Tokyo Cancelled (2005), written in a style reminiscent of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, that he trailed back to the author’s roots to search deeper and make a film on this cultural critique of the contemporary urban life. Sarnath Banerjee, who wrote India’s first graphic novel, Corridor (2004) on Indian existentialism through “an imaginative alchemy of text and image”, was in Paris early this year to release the French translation (January 2006) of his work.

Set in India’s Silicon Valley, Bangalore, The Red Carpet (2005) by Lavanya Sankaran portrayed the multifaceted paradoxes in human lives from all rungs of society with a delightful humour. Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi’s tender and witty work, The Last Song of Dusk (2004) delved into “exquisite friendships, immense sacrifices and dangerous desires” through characters like “one of us”.

In India’s first ever science fiction/fantasy (sff), Samit Basu narrated his absorbing fancy tales inhabited by mythological and historical characters from diverse cultures through The Simoqin Prophecies (2004) and The Manticore’s Secret (2005) and turned out a master of the ‘GameWorld’.

We saw the phenomenal Five Point Someone (2004) with the sub-title What not to do at IIT catapulting a banker, Chetan Bhagat into a best-selling author. His second novel on the myriad hues of life in India’s outsourcing industry, One Night @ the Call Centre (2005) now finds a place in the bestsellers’ list with his debut fiction. Sooner or later, we will see the cinematic adaptations of his works entertaining audiences as much as the book itself.

As Indian English fiction re-invents itself through new themes and styles, let’s hope that we go beyond our circumscribed spheres to simply enjoy the timeless (rather ‘age’less) appeal of the works that are coming and will continue to come - from the young thinkers and writers of our country.

by Satarupa Ray
Designed by Subhadip Mukherjee



The Last Song of Dusk

The Last Song of Dusk
by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi


Our Price Rs. 295.00
*USD 6.28

The Manticore's Secret

The Manticore's Secret


by Samit Basu


Our Price Rs. 265.50
*USD 5.65
Five Point Someone

Five Point Someone


by Chetan Bhagat


Our Price Rs. 95.00
*USD 2.02
One Night @ the Call Center

One Night @ the
Call Center

by Chetan Bhagat

Our Price Rs. 85.50
*USD 1.82

 

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