Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Robert Flanagan — The Narrow Road to the Deep North, May 14, 2016

This reading was a double occasion, first, to read from the novel by Richard Flanagan, and second, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of our reading group's founding. The event was held in the new home of our dear hostess for the day and faithful member, Priya. Here is a picture of the eats that followed the reading:

The leading spirits at the beginning were Paul George ('Bobby') at whose bookshop, Just Fiction, the sessions used to be held; Indira Outcalt whose enthusiasm for literature kept it going with the participation of several keen Kochi readers of English literature; and the late Manjoo Menon, grand seigneur of matters cultural in Kochi, whose legacy lives on through the good works he started. Here is a news item from The Hindu newspaper about the early origins of the group by our own Priya:

Priya expressed her desire to 'be a part of this wonderful group' in a note she wrote to Joe on June 21, 2007, saying how excited she was from talking to the members. Later I wrote to her:
KRG is just a way to enjoy Litt with other folk who also enjoy; and to benefit from the enthusiasm others show when they come well-prepared. I added the 'diligent reader exercises' only so we could have fun by attempting something that stretches us (me too), and thus builds a few literary muscles we may never otherwise have known we had.

A rationale for our reading group is contained in an essay I wrote for Reading Week in June 2007 and sent to Priya (but never published):
When you read you think, when you think you derive your own illumination, and when you express it, you have the pleasure of your communication added to the writer's work, as a tribute.

We concluded the meeting with the hope the group will continue even though the composition must needs change over time. By recording the events in the blog we will capture our thoughts so they do not go poof! into the air and be forgotten, but will live as a reference for the future. And when the time comes Joe will give up authorship of the KRG blog to another willing soul! 

The Tenth Anniversary group