Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Desai debuts as novella writer

In one of the finest works of her career, Anita Desai's latest book, The Artist of Disappearance, coming out later this year, comprising three novellas, her first offering after seven years since The Zigzag Way, captures with pervasive intensity the slow debilitation of ambition and spirit of its characters, and their isolation, to the point of self-flagellation of mind, memory and existence.

Desai, 74, has had success in writing both short stories and novels in a career that spans over six decades now. She published her first story when she was nine years old. Two of her novels, Clear Light of Day published in 1980, and In Custody in 1984, were nominated for the Booker Awards for Fiction, now known as the Man Booker Award.

Her collection of short stories, "Fasting, Feasting", in 1999, also got short-listed for the same award. But it is perhaps in the art of the novella, that strange depth of the literary canyon where it is difficult to fathom if the echo from below has reached the top or not, that Desai is strikingly brilliant in capturing with intricate detail and the right kind of pace the life of her characters and plots, exploring deftly various nuances of tedium, isolation and eccentricities, without satiating or saturating too early.

Full report here International Business Times

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