16 January, 2021

'I Dislike The Pan-Indian Novel'

Betty Trask Prize, Commonwealth Writers' First Book Prize, Encore award for best second novel... Is the Booker next? In Delhi recently for the launch of Freedom Song, Amit Chaudhuri on his art.

'I Dislike The Pan-Indian Novel'

Gifted with eloquence on the small and the quotidian, Amit Chaudhuri can make the crunch of gravel under foot, the distant opening and shutting of a door, or even a pile of chewed fish bones a poetic thing. He claims D.H. Lawrence "opened his eyes to (his) own temperament": his writing has Lawrence's celebratory attention to detail, but not the tense passion. Born in Calcutta, Chaudhuri, 36, lives and teaches in Cambridge. His first novel, A Strange and Sublime Address won the Betty Trask Prize and the Commonwealth Writers' First Book Prize, and Afternoon Raag won the Encore award for best second novel. In Delhi recently for the launch of Freedom Song, Chaudhuri spoke to Shoma Chaudhury about his art.

With Freedom Song you're being pitched as the next Booker. What explains the way Indo-Anglian writing is being feted abroad?

Firstly, it's less feted abroad than is represented here. After Seth and Roy it has some market potential, but in literary circles the excitement is much less. English liberals make...



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