16 January, 2021

Seth In His Ways

Vikram Seth is versatility itself, whether he's doing verse, prose, or Chinese calligraphy

Prashant Panjiar
Seth In His Ways
The secret of being a bore," believes Vikram Seth, at least in life if not in his famously wrist-spraining novel, "is to say everything." He says very little about himself, especially when he is in between books as he is now. "I'm not a recluse," he insists, and as if to prove it, sits down with his dinner plate and amiably consents to being drawn out of his habitual reticence. He is not quite the "ravishingly beautiful young man" who captivated his professors at Oxford over 30 years ago, but at 49 and with a balding patch which he does not fail to point out, the small and wiry Seth has an elfin charm and humour lurking behind his grave good looks. "It's just that I don't see the point of giving interviews unless I am out with a new book," he explains punctiliously, "I'd rather spend that time with my family or friends."

So what is his next book about? He doesn't know as yet. "I am toying with several ideas. It's very exhausting." That's understandable for a writer who decided even before he published his first book never to repeat himself, and has already exhausted most...


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