Sunday, March 12, 2017

Ngozi Chimamanda Adichie — Americanah Mar 10, 2017

 Americanah cover, first edition May 2013

Chimamanda Adichie says in one of her talks that she did not realise she was black until she went to America. The fact that this novel says a lot about race is primarily on account of Ifemelu's similar journey to America as part of her growing up, and Obinze's experience of England as a migrant without papers. Some of the most thoughtful writing is within the posts of Ifemelu on her blog Raceteenth or Curious Observations by a Non-American Black on the Subject of Blackness in America.

Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

But it was the author's goal to write an old-fashioned love story too. Ifemelu takes a shine to this cool guy, Obinze, at school and over time he completely falls for her, and she becomes the first and last love of his life. This overhang is always in the background of the novel, but in the foreground she obtains her liberation in America, all but forgets Obinze, and lives with two other men in succession. They too hold our interest. Meanwhile the reader thinks: what will happen in the end?

Pamela, Kavita, KumKum

It ends a little too fast as though the publisher had a deadline and the author had to come up with the best ending she could in the time available. In the process she forgets the cardinal rule of classic love stories: they have to end tragically, or at least unsatisfactorily.

Ankush, Shoba

There are many memorable quotes:
You can love without making love.

Race matters because of racism. And racism is absurd because it’s about how you look.

I feel like I got off the plane in Lagos and stopped being black.

Ankush, Thommo, Shoba, Kavita, KumKum, Pamela, Joe

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Poetry Session – Feb 10, 2017

Thommo, Hemjit
Eight of us met for a session of poetry and we had a guest, Martin Enckell, a poet from Finland who was spending time in India. Priya met him for an interview and invited him to join.

 Priya, Preeti

The Dropbox is gaining ground as a way of sharing poems so everybody has an electronic copy before the session. In case anyone is having a problem, please send the links to the poems, if not, just the titles of the poems and the poet name to Joe and he will try to scare up the poems from somewhere and put them in the folders of the KRG Dropbox.

Martin Enckell, Pamela, KumKum, Priya

We had some all-time favourite poets like Vikram Seth, and some lesser known performance poets who are making the current scene in England and elsewhere. Amid them we had a novelist and a playwright trying their hand at poetry.

Zakia, Pamela

Poetry gives us a wide sampling of writers and enables us to enjoy at a single session the cultural contributions of a diverse group. Invariably, in coming to grips with new writers there is a difficulty but the readers advance ideas to clarify points, and others come up with alternate interpretations. Poetry with its characteristic requirement that the sound and the sense amplify each other, offers an open field for the human voice.

Martin Enckell, Pamela, KumKum


We heard from one of our old readers, Ankush Banerjee, that he is back in town and may put in an appearance soon. Old readers are welcome to drop in if they are in town. We miss them all.
KumKum, Pamela, Priya, Thommo, Preeti, Martin Enckell, Joe, Hemjit (seated)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Paul Beatty Interview at Kolkata Lit Meet - Jan 25, 2017



Paul Beatty's Booker Prize winning novel, The Sellout, is the fiction selected for reading at KRG in the month of May. KumKum and Joe were in Kolkata for a week and it so happened the Kolkata Lit Meet (Kalam) was on at the same time

They took the opportunity of attending a session at which the author was interviewed. 

Sandip Roy (SR), author and interviewer, sat down with Paul Beatty (PB) for a chat. A few hundred people attended the evening session in the eastern lawns of the Victoria Memorial under a billowing shamiana, as the sun was going down behind the VM. While the conversation turned on several issues, including the election of the US President (Mr Trump), it was mainly about Mr Beatty's latest novel:


The cover shows Diogenes of Sinope, the Greek philosopher who, legend has it, went  around with a lit lantern in broad daylight, saying he was ‘looking for an honest man’. In the book too there is a black man with white trousers and a pink shirt, and the reader will wonder what he is searching for.

KumKum gets a front-seat audience with Paul Beatty
(Beatty's wife, Althea Amrik Wasow, is behind KumKum's left shoulder)