Anita Desai is the author of Fasting, Feasting, Baumgartner’s Bombay, Clear Light of Day, Diamond Dust, and The Artist of Disappearance, among other works. Three of her books have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
From her Q & A at the Guardian:
How did you come to write The Artist of Disappearance, your trio of novellas about the influence of the past on modern India?--Marshal Zeringue
The ideas had planted themselves in me long ago. For "The Museum of Final Journeys", it was visiting the Museum of Oriental Art in Venice and, while there, recalling the crumbling old palaces in the hinterland of West Bengal that I had toured with my sister, then a district official. For "ÍTranslator Translated", it was the debates that used to rage about colonial versus indigenous languages in India in the 50s and 60s, when I first started writing. And for "The Artist of Disappearance", it was the hills of Mussoorie, where I had spent childhood summers. But they had to wait for the right season to come to life, which came when I was once again spending a winter in Mexico, for me the best place in which to write.
What was most difficult about it?
Recalling and recreating the events and atmosphere of the past and making them fresh and vivid and immediate once more.
What did you most enjoy?