Saturday, October 2, 2010

Stories from the underground

An intricate fabric that dazzles in parts but falls apart in the end.

This is a story told across continents and by multiple voices. There is the narrator, a modern-day writer in the dusty town of Phansa in Bihar, making serendipitous discoveries in his grandfather's abandoned library.

There is Amir Ali, a reformed Indian thug, telling his story through the yellowing pages of Notes on a Thug: Character and Circumstances (1840), by Captain William T. Meadows (a takeoff on Philip Meadows Taylor's Confessions of a Thug, first published in 1839, in which the protagonist was called Ameer Ali.)

Different voices
Ah, but Amir Ali is not what he seems — our narrator chances upon some letters written in Farsi by Ali to his Jaanam (beloved), the maid Jenny, in which he declares, “I am not what the Kaptaan wants me to be — I am not Amir Ali, the Thug.' So we have a third voice — that of Ali without his thuggee turban on. And briefly, there is a fourth — the “opium-befuddled” Irishman Paddyji (but more about him later).

Full report here Hindu

No comments:

Post a Comment