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.
What I read this year.
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.
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.
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?
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.
A couple in Bangalore discuss whether the Covid lockdown in India has altered the goods & bads of having a child in a troubled country.
Three short stories from 2006.
Two poems from 2011 in Muse India.
A magic realist story about a co-dependent relationship in the city of lights.