We need more of this

I am not (yet) a fan of Vikram Seth, simply because, and forgive me for this, I have not read his work. But yes, over the years I have seen his books in almost all the bookshops that show some interest in the prose of Indian authors. One of them, “The Suitable Boy”, is the longest novel written by an Indian (The author took a decade to write it) and according the Wikipedia, its the 7th longest novel ever. But frankly, length of any book has never impressed me — infact, to me it is of the least significance.

For Indian writing, two events of prime significance happened earlier this month. Salman Rushdie’s “Shalimar the Clown” and Vikram Seth’s “Two Lives” were published. Seth’s new work almost made a silent debut amidst the fanfare Rushdie received.

But now, it appears, with all the interviews that Vikram Seth has given, add to it, his sense of humor and timing, I have a feeling he would end up impressing more people than any Indian author has done so in a long, long time.

The author launched his book in the 5 major cities of India. Starting from Chennai and ending it in Delhi, covering Bangalore, Kolkata and Mumbai in between. He gave interviews and came up with interesting and funny quotes like “I’m a slow writer and I respect trees” (when asked why he spent six years writing his latest book) and, here is more, “I will pretend to read from the book for a while and you take your photos,” (when asked for a photo session) and the best quote of all, here:

“what is important for a writer is when a reader is gripped by a book and delays his dinner to read a few more pages.”

That is just so true.

I have always believed that reading is something that helps build a better society, it is much more than just a way to ward off boredom. I hope the efforts Vikram Seth undertook will make people get up, take notice and read. We need more authors coming out, talking to people and signing autographs.

We need more of this.

Postscript: If this post interests you, I suggest you to please check out the links above.

9 thoughts on “We need more of this

  1. Vikram always had the funny bone I suppose. My first introduction to Seth was in school with his poem ‘ The frog and the nightingale’. It sure was humorous. I had started reading ‘The suitable boy’ but the length put me down and I have postponed reading it some 3 weeks now. Lets see if I finish it;-)

  2. I have read “The Suitable Boy” but wasn’t really impressed by it much. As you rightly pointed out the number of pages is not necessarily a measure of how good a book is. But I have enjoyed reading other books by Vikram Seth, especially his first one, “The Golden Gate”. I have just bought “Two Lives” and can’t wait to get started on it (soon after I finish what I am reading right now actually – The Red Carpet) but the little (or should I say the lot) I have read about the book from the interviews and newspaper articles, the book promises to be really gripping. I think you should read Seth – start with The Golden Gate if you can. He surely is one of the finest writers we have today.

  3. I liked this sentences in your post:
    “I have always believed that reading is something that helps build a better
    society, it is much more than just a way to ward off boredom.”
    In France there is a festival dedicated to books. I think it is called
    “Fete du livre”
    What you say is very true.

  4. There have been many occasions when I’ll pick up a Vikram Seth book at a bookstore, read the synopsis at the back cover and
    think, “Interesting”. Then I read the first pagi get turned off by the prose. (In fact, I have done this with “The Golden Gate”
    a lot of times. My short memory span is alarming.) I keep forgetting he writes that way. I’m sure it’s very good, but I’m afraid
    I do not have the patience for a whole novel in prose.

  5. i read a little of seth a while ago. i thought he was hilarious. but i didn’t have the patience to read all of it. i started only because we had the frog and the nightingale in our 10th grade english text. i really want to read more of his work. the quotes are funny!!

  6. i have read some poems of Vikram Seth-“the frog and the nightingale” and “the tale of Melon city”; and “a suitable boy”. i think they all are really good. it must have been really well written, because otherwise i would never have read about politics in “a suitable boy”.

  7. i have read the poem”the frog and the nightangle” of vikram seth. it has a good rthym but i want to get the explanation of all his poems.

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