Monday, March 1, 2010

They did it

Very few crime novels have been written in English in India, but it is a relief to know that the genre has been thriving in other languages. Coincidentally, two publishers, Blaft and Random House India, have brought out two very different books — one by well known Urdu writer Ibn-e Safi, and the other by famous Hindi author Surender Mohan Pathak.

Translations are usually very tough — and it is remarkable how well Pathak’s novel Daylight Robbery reads in English. The pace is racy, the tone is just right. Pathak himself has said in a recent interview that he does not believe in long passages of description and, therefore, the book is a page-turner with tightly written action. The book succeeds because it quickly taps into our psyche, peopled as it is with characters we are familiar with from Indian cinema. Even the book cover luridly acknowledges it, with bare-bosomed babes, racing trucks and masked men. This is unadulterated literary kitsch heaven and one reads Pathak with a relaxed sense of fun. There is no struggle with graceful or elegant prose out here — rather, the testosterone directly injected into the writing throws us back to an era when we read James Hadley Chase in which, as they say, men were men and women were, well, women.

Full report here Indian Express

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