Saturday, March 26, 2011

Siddhartha Deb

From a Q & A with Siddhartha Deb about his novel, The Point of Return:

In what ways did your work in journalism prepare you for the experience of writing your first book of literary fiction?

Journalism taught me to write against a deadline and showed me that there were extraordinary stories in seemingly ordinary lives. Fiction allowed me to build on those experiences, taking up the stories and the inner lives that journalism couldn't hope to capture because of its limitations of time and space.

What is the historical context of the fractured relationship between tribals and nontribals in northeastern India that you explore in The Point of Return?

The British colonial rule was superb at fostering divisions upon people on the basis of religion, ethnicity, class, and caste, and this is the point from which the fractured relationship originates. Add to that mass migration to the hills by Bengali Hindus fleeing their original homeland because of the partition of India in 1947 and the insecurity of the hill people because they are marginal compared to other groups in India, and there you have all the elements of a bitter misunderstanding.

What were some of the special challenges you faced in writing a novel that progresses in reverse chronological order?

It was a remarkably...[read on]
The scholar Neeti Nair called The Point of Return a "lyrical novel."

--Marshal Zeringue