Categories
What I read

Monthly Review: November 2022

A slowish month.

Categories
Advice on Writing Personal Essay

Take Your Time: Let the Wine Mature

Short essay on craft.

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Uncategorized

The Doll

100-word story.

Categories
What I read

Monthly Review: October 2022

An English Hollywood actor’s autobiography, my first Cormac McCarthy and J. M. Coetzee, a study of my favourite novelist, and some Bertie & Wooster to round things off.

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Artists & Scientists

Giveaway: *Sandman*

Answer a simple question for a chance to win a hard copy of *Sandman.*

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Interview

Interview with David W. Berner on *Sandman*

Last Sunday I reviewed Berner’s 2022 novella *Sandman,* a novella that uses golf as a metaphor. Today I have the pleasure of speaking with David about the book, his experience with the sport, and the writing life.

Categories
Flash story

The Hours

“The Hours” explores deracination via the protagonist’s skewed time perception. How do you tell time when you’re insulated in a climate-and-lighting-controlled environment, doing the same desk work day after day, isolated from the weather, the changing seasons, and the life rhythms of the people on the street? Having realised you’re alienated, which way do you go — back to life, or deeper into the belly of the beast?

Categories
Uncategorized

Sandman (2022). David W. Berner

Full of humour and vivid natural scenes, colourful characters and introspective passages, Sandman is many things: a coming-of-age tale, a mystery, and a meditation on golf as a metaphor for life.

Categories
Book review Film review

Monthly Review: September 2022 (Almost No Memory; The Sound and the Fury)

Full-length book reviews: Lydia Davis’s short story collection *Almost No Memory*; Faulker’s *The Sound & the Fury*; began reading *godel Escher Bach* and abandoned it; short reviews of some films I watched in recent months including *American Beauty* and *Sleepy Hollow.* Wrote a fair bit, including rewrites and microstories.

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Film review

Film reviews: Rewatching My Favourite Television Show & Movie (Breaking Bad and LOTR)

Over the last few weeks I’ve rewatched *Breaking Bad* and *The Lord of the Rings* trilogy. Here’s what I thought of them.

Categories
Book review

Monthly Review: August 2022 (Out of Sheer Rage; Circe; Coral Glynn)

What I Read: Out of Sheer Rage: In the Shadow of DH Lawrence (Geoff Dyer, 1997): The narrator is trying to write a book about DH Lawrence, but keeps getting sidetracked: by trips to Greek islands where everything is dull but the traffic, the unpredictable unavailability of cornetti at his favourite café in Rome, his […]

Categories
Short story

Mothers and Sons

The lives of two women & their sons intersect against a background of violence & secrecy. Do we feel less able to hurt someone when we realise they’re already hurting?

Categories
Microstory

One Day

A set of ten loosely linked microstories set in Allahabad. Tales of ambition, grind, love, loneliness, & social conflict.

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Short story

The Why and the How

A speculative short story examining poverty, hard choices, and a ray of hope.

Categories
Book review

Monthly Review: July 2022 (The Red & the Black; A Swim in the Pond in the Rain)

Read: Stendhal & George Saunders. Wrote: a fair bit of short fiction. Fared: energetic, optimistic, & focussed, bordering on manic territory.

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Novellas & Novelettes

To Decide or Not to Decide

Ganesh is trapped at home in Bangalore w/ Achal, his wife from an arranged marriage. Covid has brought Ganesh unexpected new opportunities. The life he’s living feels suffocating, & he now has the chance to escape from it to pursue the dreams he had as a child. Will Ganesh seize the day, or keep writhing in the grip of decision paralysis?

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Book review

Monthly Review: June 2022 (City of Victory; The Wind in the Willows; The Psychology of Money; White Noise)

What I read, wrote, & published, & how I fared.

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Short story

Last Day of Freedom

Forty-year-old Elef enjoys his last day of freedom before heading to prison. He catches up with Clive and accompanies him on his errands. Elef contemplates the crimes that have condemned him to prison for the rest of his life.

Categories
Flash story

Waiting

A new couple drive up a mountain to enjoy a day together, but they’re both waiting for something.

Categories
Book review What I read

Monthly Review: May 2022 (Pulp; Post Office; Macbeth; Much Ado About Nothing; some short fiction)

Bukowski & Shakespeare. Some writing; some publications. Another depressive episode, followed by introspection & course correction (ongoing).

Categories
Novellas & Novelettes

At Play

A young girl spends a summer back home in Calcutta in the 1990s. She makes a new friend. Both girls face crises and contemplate the future of their friendship.

Categories
Microstory

Highway

A 100-word story.

Categories
What I read

What I Read, Wrote, & Published: April 2022 (Kafka’s Letter to my Father; Tropic of Cancer; Ordinary People; The Lost World; The Poison Belt; Black Beauty)

What I Read: Kafka’s Letter to My Father. Finished Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. Judith Guest’s Ordinary People. Conan Doyle’s The Lost World (reread after primary school) & The Poison Belt. Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty. Needed a light read, and I’d never read this. This is super-light, touching when it’s not preachy, not a story […]

Categories
Book review Personal Essay What I read

What I Read, Wrote, & Published: March 2022 (Treasure Island; Blink; Anthony & Cleopatra; The Lesson; some short fiction)

Lots of stuff.

Categories
Short story

The Why and the How

This magic realist/speculative story explores poverty, motherhood, and the ethics of necessity from the PoV of a street-dwelling mother bitch in India.

Categories
Book review

What I Read, Wrote, & Published: February 2022 (Hitler’s Niece; Julius Caesar; An Unquiet Mind)

Voltaire, Hitler. Gladwell, Shakespeare, bipolar disorder, & speculative short fiction.

Categories
Flash story

School Trip

(Image credit. The photo is neither mine nor of me.) Sledgehammer Lit Mag published my flash story “School Trip” on their wacky and wonderful site. This story about social class and empathy was inspired by a trip to Banerghatta National Park. *** They’re nine-year-olds, too old, so by the time they’re taunting the moon bears […]

Categories
What I read

What I Read & Wrote & Published in January 2022 (Hitler’s Vienna; Edwin Drood; Cat On A Hot Tin Roof; The Glass Menagerie; A Streetcar Named Desire)

Read: Nonfiction & a novel & drama & some short stories.

Wrote & published: mostly short fiction.

Categories
Book review History Politics

Zweites Buch. Adolf Hitler (1928)

Where Mein Kampf is a sprawling, ill-organised rant overflowing with hateful conspiracy theories, Zweites Buch is a succinct, mostly cogent, well-reasoned statement of Adolf Hitler’s foreign policy views. The ongoing German-Italian crisis regarding the South Tyrol has motivated Hitler to critique Germany’s current foreign policy, and develop a suitable alternative. This he does in the context of considering abstractly the proper motives and goals of any nation’s foreign policy. Zweites Buch is an aetiology of politics itself. If Mein Kampf was an endless parade of Hitler’s destructive delusions and obsessions, Zweites Buch is a glimpse into the mind of an astute politician, a committed if misguided patriot, and a man both “logical and fanatical,” as one observer put it. Zweites Buch puts antisemitism and antibolshevism mostly on the backshelf, and articulates the broad points of the policies Hitler was soon to enact. This analysis of problems and potential solutions – of economics, international rivalries and inequities, and fierce competition over limited natural resources – is a unique window into an important mind, and remains relevant in global politics today

Categories
Short story

Rush

Black Fork Review Issue 5 published my 2400-word short story “Rush” in Issue #5. I was born, I must’ve been, though who’s got time to be born anymore? My mother was a fast-food-counter clerk and daycare janitor, and a third job too, or maybe that was later, either way she wouldn’t’ve had time to give […]

Categories
Interview

Interview with Mithran Somasundrum, author of The Mask Under My Face

I met Mithran Somasundrum via the Internet Writing Workshop. I enjoyed his debut novel, The Mask Under My Face, which I’ve reviewed here. Mithran kindly agreed to do an interview about this novel, his writing life, and his day job. He also offers advice and resources for writers.

Categories
Book review

My Reading List 2021

What I read this year.

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Book review

Places (2021) Ana Vidosavljevic

Places presents the reader with a range of colourful characters having interesting experiences in locales scattered across the globe. Ana Vidosavljevic’s trademark flair for colour, description, humour, and empathy enliven these nineteen tales. Places is an assorted chocolate box so savour over the course of a lazy weekend.

Categories
Book review

The Mask Under My Face (2021). Mithran Somasundrum

Mithran Somasundrum’s debut novel climaxes during the political protests in Thailand in 2010, where communists revolted against the repressive regime. The novel’s events are a protest in microcosm against old Thailand’s entrenched power systems: the old and new wealthy whose privileges included partial immunity from the law. One of Mask’s two protagonists is the middle-class son of a murdered policeman; the other is the upper-class murderer. Mask’s achievement is twofold: first, it heralds democracy in Thailand; second, it gets us to understand, if not to sympathise with, both sides of a murder story. Mask is a promising debut from Somsasundrum, who has previously published short fiction in some of the world’s most prestigious literary magazines.

Categories
Book review

German Voices: Memories of Life During Hitler’s Third Reich (2011). F. C. Tubach

German Voices is an important contribution to a relatively overlooked niche of Third Reich literature: the experiences of ordinary German citizens. Tubach presents original research, comprising of interviews with German and US residents who lived during Hitler’s rule. This information is presented both as short excerpts supporting the themes of a given chapter, and as a selection of full stories illuminating contrasting experiences. This book does not aim to vindicate the lack of resistance, or the active collaboration, of ordinary citizens. It does illustrate that resistance was very difficult, and thereby raises a key ethical question: Is a human being dutybound, at risk of his own life and his family’s, to protect the lives of strangers?

Categories
Book review

Maurice. E. M. Forster. (1913/1970)

Maurice explores homosexuality in upper-middle class England at the turn of the last century. This unadorned narrative follows a love affair between two young men of different temperaments, but both constrained by the social prejudice and legal concerns surrounding homosexuality at this place and time. Maurice is a social document, recording some of the many aids with which human beings try to deny their reality and wish away human nature. Maurice is also a paean of hope for individual liberty.

Categories
Short story

The Decision

A couple in Bangalore discuss whether the Covid lockdown in India has altered the goods & bads of having a child in a troubled country.

Categories
Uncategorized

Throwback Thursday: Three Stories

Three short stories from 2006.

Categories
Poetry

Throwback Thursday: Two Poems: “When Thisbe Was Dead” and “In the Bath”

Two poems from 2011 in Muse India.

Categories
Short story

Courage Anniversary

A magic realist story about a co-dependent relationship in the city of lights.

Categories
Book review

Adam Bede. George Eliot (1859)

Adam Bede is one of my favourite novels. Its setting is idyllic; its cast is diverse, spanning skilled labourers, prosperous tenant farmers, and landowning gentry, speaking a range of Derbyshire dialects, expertly captured; its pace is slow but sure; its story a mature tragedy shot through with hope and acceptance; and everything is suffused with Eliot’s empathy, humour, and grace, already fully matured here in her debut. I first read Adam Bede when I was ten or eleven; it holds up well to rereading.

Categories
Flash story

They Told My Friend

This flash story was originally published by Bandit Fiction on 05 September, 2021. Image Credit They told my friend: “Stop washing your face.” Daniel kept the cleanest face at school – before our mums pulled us out to work. He’d been a good student; he was saddened. Then he laughed and fell to fieldwork.  Daniel […]

Categories
Short story

Biding Time

This story was originally published by uRevolution. Image credit 11:35am.  Almost time for almonds.  They strolled up the walkway towards Halebid  temple.  Dhrub in his arms, Rishab walked slowly.  So slowly, Rita wasn’t sure they were moving.  Were they moving backwards? Whoosh!  They were moving backwards.  Only Rita felt it.  Rita, starved-stoned.  “It’s depressing, visiting […]

Categories
Book review

Letters To A Young Poet. Rainer Maria Rilke (1903-1908), trs Herter Norton (1934)

Written during Rilke’s formative years, his advice in Letters To A Young Poet is a guide not just to artists, but to anyone who wants to live well. Ranging over topics as diverse as vocation and art, sex and solitude, nature and literary criticism, Letters is a lyrical and spiritual guide to living, reading, feeling, and loving. Quick to read, this tiny book will stay with you long afterwards, and hold up to frequent rereadings. Like a holy book, it is best read often and briefly: peep at one passage, savour it, and turn it over on your tongue.

Categories
Book review

Berlin Alexanderplatz. Alfred Doblin (1929). Trs. Michael Hoffman (2017)

Whether you’re looking for an examination of crime and decay, a multi-disciplinary origin-story of individual consciousness, or a landmark in modernism literature that has influenced generations of writers, or just a jolly good narrative – Berlin Alexanderplatz will change the way you read and think.

Categories
Short story

Re:Birth

A magic realist journey of recovery from trauma.

Categories
Novellas & Novelettes

Zeus and His Things

“Zeus and His Things” is a humorous speculative novelette inspired by (a) my decades-long love of Greek mythology, and (b) the question: What if things don’t really behave systematically, as we expect them to? This novelette published in four parts in Bewildering Stories Volumes 911 & 912 is a lighthearted engagement with the philosophy of science.

Categories
Novellas & Novelettes

Zeus and His Things

“Zeus and His Things” is a humorous speculative novelette inspired by (a) my decades-long love of Greek mythology, and (b) the question: What if things don’t really behave systematically, as we expect them to? This novelette published in four parts in Bewildering Stories Volumes 911 & 912 is a lighthearted engagement with the philosophy of science.

Categories
Novellas & Novelettes

Zeus and His Things: Part 2/4

“Zeus and His Things” is a humorous speculative novelette inspired by (a) my decades-long love of Greek mythology, and (b) the question: What if things don’t really behave systematically, as we expect them to? This novelette published in four parts in Bewildering Stories Volumes 911 & 912 is a lighthearted engagement with the philosophy of science.

Categories
Novellas & Novelettes

Zeus and His Things: Part 1/4

“Zeus and His Things” is a humorous speculative novelette inspired by (a) my decades-long love of Greek mythology, and (b) the question: What if things don’t really behave systematically, as we expect them to? This novelette published in four parts in Bewildering Stories Volumes 911 & 912 is a lighthearted engagement with the philosophy of science.