Literary potshots

In Fury, a Salman Rushdie character (Prof. Solanka) flays Hemingway, calling him the “most effeminate” of novelists, or something to that effect. It suits Rushdie, his writing leaning towards the opposite spectrum of literary style.

A few years down the line, Rohinton Mistry writes in Family Matters –

“…Yezad felt that Punjabi migrants of a certain age were like Indian authors writing about that period, whether in realist novels of corpse-filled trains or in the magic-realist midnight muddles, all repeating the same catalogue of horrors about slaughter and burning, rape and mutilation, foetuses torn out of wombs, genitals stuffed in the mouths of the castrated.”

– obvious references to Khushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistan and Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children.

Mistry makes up for it when Yezad is immediately penitent:

“…He knew they had to keep telling their story, just like Jews had to theirs, about the Holocaust…”

 

It is interesting to see some mudslinging between authors, through their own medium, a license to criticize one of the small pleasure’s of a writer’s life.

2 thoughts on “Literary potshots

  1. Pundit

    Mystic Wanderer,

    Have you ever come across a very old author called Lloyd C Douglas? He is my very favorite storyteller, and he was my Dad’s favorite storyteller as well.

    Some of his books became famous movies:
    The Robe
    Magnificent Obsession

    Sometimes I yearn for a good story well told. No complicated and mysterious themes and symbols. I’m not a student of literature, but if you could suggest authors who follow this simple but powerful storytelling style, I would welcome a list.

    Pundit

    Reply
  2. mystic wanderer Post author

    I hadn’t heard of Lloyd C Douglas. But the movie “The Robe” rings a bell — I think it was screened in our school once (being a convent and the movie having a Biblical theme).

    It’s true, simple powerful storytelling goes a long way. I have enjoyed reading W. Somerset Maugham (Of Human Bondage, Razor’s Edge, Moon and Sixpence) in the past, in the way you mention. More recently, among contemporary Indian authors, I can think of Vikram Seth and Rohinton Mistry – both wonderful storytellers. If you don’t mind darker stuff – J.M Coetzee’s novels are powerful and moving , and simply told. I also liked reading Ian McEwan’s Amsterdam.

    Reply

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