This new breed of writers

I remember Uma once wrote a post about the worst books ever written (worse still, published!) and Anurag Mathur’s “The Inscrutable Americans” fitted the bill for quite a few, including yours truly. Now, it would be almost ridiculous to compare the likes of Mathur to modern Indian literary giants like Rohinton Mistry, Amitav Ghosh and Jhumpa Lahiri but the fact is that Mathur’s story telling was, in the end, good for the financial health of his publisher. That he writes prose which is in no way exquisite and miles away from being called “good literature” is a different matter altogether.

Such is also the case with Chetan Bhagat, author of “Five Point Someone”, who has “One night at the Call Center” as his latest offering. I feel here is a new breed of writers emerging and they are quite content not being in the same class as contemporary English writers. Their prose is not poetic and surely you can keep the dictionary at bay. In fact, at times, their writing style is almost swaggering and often full of dark humor. They strive by making the reader flip pages by exploiting the plot, the storyline, rather than employing an effective use of the prose. (A good example would be Dan Brown, who, with his ordinary writing in the highly overrated “Da Vinci Code”, must have smiled all the way to the bank while we were left chasing the holy grill.. or was that the grail? You may not like what I say, but I thought that book was a pure waste of time.) Comparing Anurag Mathur’s (or for that matter, Bhagat’s) prose to Rushdie’s or Jhumpa Lahiri’s would be comparing a David Dhawan movie to Meera Nair’s. Almost a crime.

It’s an altogether different style of story-telling. For starters, books like these are often read in one go. People who have not read a book in ages complete it in a matter of hours. Read alright but read by whom? Teenagers, young adults, in fact just about everyone. From a literary sense, these is nothing to gain from books like these. Nightmare for readers who cherish the flawless prose of authors like Salman Rushdie, Rohin Mistry. In fact, Bhagat’s target audience is not that class of readers. But the most startling fact about these kind of books is that in a society where reading is a dying culture, they are like a shot in the arm. That is the only reason why I am not cynically critical about authors like Bhagat and Mathur. (Or am I?)

6 thoughts on “This new breed of writers

  1. Good analogy between David Dhawan & Meera Nair :-). Authors like Bhagat and Mathur write paisa vasool books, which costs not more than 100 bucks and which can be read for entertainment and most important you dont have to check the dictionary good for people like me who have never read their angrezi text books in skool :-)

  2. May be that is what u think , but there are quiet a few who like such light reads …….
    It truly depends on the readers taste and choice

  3. You have a nice blog! Look at how the rotten TOI is laughing all the way to the bank. I can’t stand that “newspaper” anymore, but I find myself in the minority.

    To paraphrase Oscar Wilde “Literature is often unread” and the unreadable is now literature!

  4. [Mary] You have a strong opinoin on it, it seems!

    [EP && Viewer] Agree with you!

    [Continental Drift] Firstly, yes you are in the minority but it is a fast growing one.

    Secondly, “rotten” TOI is what you (and other like minded people like me who have seen a much better face of the TOI) think. But for people who will grow up reading TOI in its present style will tend to believe how unique it is. That group of people is TOI’s target audience. Catch them young.

    Last, but not the least, Thank you for your kind words.

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