Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Shalimar the Clown

Frankly speaking, I haven't read so far Salman Rushdie's latest magnum opus "Shalimar the Clown". But, I came across a review of the book in the September 12, Issue of Outlook magazine. The review was done by none other than Amit Chaudhuri, himself a known Anglophone Indian writer.

Truly in the league of witty literati, Chaudhuri explored the genesis of Indian writing while reviewing with the publication of Rushdie's "Midnight's Children" that inspired almost whole generation of writers and catapulted Indian novelists on the international scene. Quite judiciously, the reviewer averred "Indian writing in English, since Rushdie, has participated in a subtle but significant shift in register in the way India views itself and others: from a once-colonised nation "finding its voice", to quote from V.S. Pritchett’s review of Midnight’s Children, to a player on the world stage with a ‘say’ in the world."

Since then, the reviewer instead of analyzing the book seemingly fumbled and meandered into the narrative style of Indian writing that to him is devoid of values and excitements which had once brought him into the fascinated world of writing. He tried to review the book in the backdrop of the writer’s earlier novels, and found the new novel in the process of making and unmaking, and made a conclusive remark that “Rushdie sounds less like himself than a writer who’s under the compunction to manufacture a ‘major’ work. Somewhere, I feel the reviewer left the readers in lurch and didn’t delve into a taut analysis of the book, which we expect from a writer of his calibre.

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