Friday, June 12, 2009

The Red Carpet

I chanced on Lavanya Sankaran by accident. A few months ago, I was browsing a Bangalore news site (I do not recall the link, I came to it with a bit of googling) which carried an article called "Bangalore in Books". Naturally I was interested and went on to read about several Bangalore-based authors, some familiar and unfamiliar, among them Lavanya Sankaran and her collection of Short Stories called The Red Carpet.

Again Landmark, Forum provided me with the book.

The best part of the book is that, the places are all very familiar to Bangaloreans and the characters are very often like the people we see next-door. My conventional side did frown rather disapprovingly at some parts of the stories, but then a good story is often made up of everything, whether we like it or not.

On the other hand, the same names keep popping up in every other story: Tara Srinivasan, Ramu, Murthy, Swami, Ashwini... Even though the stories are different and we know it, somehow we carry the residue of a previous story when we go on to the next and the people are so different even though their names are the same. It was difficult to connect to the characters with mixed-up characteristics from different stories. I would have preferred the names to be different. But I believe she had a good reason for using the same.

The titles of the stories, despite being exceptional, are not directly related to the theme of each story.

Many of the authors who write about life in India give descriptions to the minutest detail and explanation of the most commonplace incidents and things that it sometimes sounds like a book written for foreigners.

In all, an interesting read.

1 comment:

  1. There's something wonderful and pwoerful about writers who can properly evoke a sense of place. Living here in Vancouver, we've been lucky to have a few locals who write and give you a real feeling for this town and it's idiosyncracies.

    I'd love to read more english-language writing about India; what recommendations can you give for a beginner?