Categories
Book review

The Tempest.

Caliban: Heroic Anti-Colonial, Or Savage Rapist? Prospero: Pathetic Bookworm, or Forebearing Sorcerer? Best Be Gonzalo.

Categories
Philosophy Politics Science What I read

Notes on Christopher Caudwell’s *Studies In A Dying Culture*

These analytical essays illuminate aspects of contemporary capitalist culture: including literature, liberty, and psychology. Underpinning these essays is the insight that a commodified approach to art and life erodes fundamental human relations, and impoverishes our souls. Caudwell argues — not for regressing into an imagined “glorious past” — but for us to fight together for a future of universal human dignity.

Categories
Book review

The Ocean At The End of the Lane is An Intriguing, if Unsubstantial, Magic Realist Fable

The Ocean At The End of the Lane (2013) is the first I’ve read of Neil Gaiman. I begin with my usual caveat: this is a speculative novel, and I seldom like books in this genre. I’ve begun trying it regularly, and I liked this book better than some others I’ve tried recently. Still, if […]

Categories
Book review

The Hottest Day of the Year: In A Place Out of Time, Women Oppress Each Other, Repress Themselves, And Finally Break Free

Brinda Charry’s The Hottest Day of the Year (2001) opens with the narrator, 11-year-old Nithya, finding Sudha hanging by the neck from the ceiling. Hottest Day then rewinds a few months to tell the story from the beginning. The book unfolds over six months of 1986 in Thiruninravur, near Chennai. Nithya is from Bangalore; her […]

Categories
Environment Flash story

Promises

Fabula Argentea published this flash story in Issue 31. Image source: Air Quality in Delhi before and after lockdown began. SUMAN “Why’re you standing here, Ma?” Suman stepped onto the balcony. “You know this polluted air aggravates your asthma. Come inside.” Suman gasped. A hundred and twenty miles away, through the sky suddenly clear, wide […]

Categories
Book review Environment

Richard Powers’s The Overstory Is an Unflinching Examination of Nine Humans’ Fight for Forests

The Overstory (2018) won the 2019 Pulitzer for fiction, and for good reason. This is the most ambitious novel I’ve ever read, possibly also the best-written. Almost every sentence is perfect: such that the very occasional slightly-imperfect sentence stands out. The prose is both sparely poetic, and dense with distilled meaning – inviting slow savouring, […]

Categories
Environment Personal Essay

Saving the World: Individual Action and Systemic Change

Captain Planet exhorted 90s children to save the world — while also showing us how large industry and government inaction stack the cards against meaningful change. Thirty years on, was Captain Planet right?

Categories
Artists & Scientists Cognitive Science Interview Mental Health

Interview with Aswini Madhira on Artists and Scientists

I’m please to bring you an interview with my friend and colleague Ms. Aswini Madhira. Aswini is a cognitive science researcher, and an artist in her spare time. She has previously contributed a personal essay to this blog. Today we speak about art and science; and about passion vs. pragmatism in choosing a career. Read our conversation […]

Categories
Short story

Sanctuary

Volume Three of Fearsome Critters is out, with my short story “Sanctuary.” Set on a solo weekend trip to Benaras, “Sanctuary” fictionalises a friend’s psychoglocial journey. A journey of healing from trauma, rediscovering oneself through reflection (with aid from psychedelics), and recovering one’s faith in people and purpose in life.

Categories
Book review

Three Book Reviews

Parables for the Theatre: Two Plays by Brecht In college I’d heard of Brecht’s penchant for theatre that broke the fourth wall; a decade later, this two-play volume I read this month was the first Brecht I read. My experience reading drama is limited. I’ve read the classical Athenians, and some Plautus; Shakespeare, and a […]