California Literary Review

India

Book Review: The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje

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December 14th, 2011

The “cat’s table” is the place where the least important passengers on the ship are seated during mealtimes—and it’s where the novel’s narrator, eleven-year old Michael (nicknamed Mynah), finds himself seated, alongside the companions who will subtly alter and inform the trajectory of his life.

Book Review: Miss New India by Bharati Mukherjee

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May 16th, 2011

The title refers to the new female embodiment aspired to by the main character Anjali Bose – the modern woman working as one of India’s burgeoning number of call-center agents “bearing hope and energy that is infectious.” This modern woman has abandoned the sari for American blue jeans, hangs out at Starbucks, shops at upscale stores, and commutes around town by motorcycle.

Falling off the Edge: Travels Through the Dark Heart of Globalization by Alex Perry

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February 16th, 2009

Perry describes a world without a middle class, a world in which, according to 2006 statistics, one percent of the world’s adults own forty percent of all global assets. The richest ten percent own eighty-five percent, while the poorest half own less than one percent.

Dr. Shashi Tharoor: Understanding India

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October 8th, 2008

“India is a status-quo power: it wants nothing that Pakistan has. Pakistan’s rulers, however, are obsessed with Kashmir, which they have repeatedly tried and failed to wrest from India through war and militancy, and with a desire to “cut India down to size” by bleeding it through terrorism. What needs to happen is for a new political culture to prevail in Pakistan, one that privileges peace, dialogue, co-operation, tourism and trade instead of resentment, bigotry, militarism, intolerance and violence.”

Parag Khanna Discusses The Second World

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March 4th, 2008

“Around the entire world what I see is Europe and China investing into and buying greater shares of foreign economies—and thus gaining significant political and even military leverage over them—at our expense. Power has to be a fair balance among a range of tools, including the military, in order to be used effectively. We’re not doing that now, and I don’t see a good strategy coming out of Washington as to how to do it better.”

Believers and Infidels

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June 12th, 2007

For the first time there was a feeling that technologically, economically and politically, as well as culturally, the British had nothing to learn from India and much to teach; it did not take long for imperial arrogance to set in. This arrogance, when combined with the rise of Evangelical Christianity, slowly came to affect all aspects of relations between the British and the Indians.

The Argumentative Indian: Writings On Indian History, Culture and Identity by by Amartya Sen

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April 10th, 2007

The Argumentative Indian is a discussion on the genesis and direction of the Indian identity, in the context of a global intercourse of ideas, ancient and recent.

An Interview With Novelist Indu Sundaresan

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April 3rd, 2007

“In the initial foray into reading for each of the novels, there is always a lot of imbibing of the background and atmosphere, a searching for story, an investigation into details. Then, I will settle into intensive research – read and reread a few select books and manuscripts, cull points of interest, look for aspects that provide movement in my own story.”

Straddling Two Cultures

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March 31st, 2007

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni It happened in 1976 when Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni was all of 19. Walking down a Chicago street with some relatives she was appalled when a few white teenagers yelled “nigger” and hurled slush at her. The incident, deeply shaming, was never discussed, but it stayed and played in her mind and acted […]

Goethe and Tagore – Unexpected Interests

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March 26th, 2007

Goethe and Tagore, separated by time and contexts, but joined in their great felicity over the literary idiom, show similar quests in the understanding of the sciences. It is alluring to jump to the conclusion of a phony and fashionable unity; that science and arts are the same after all; and literature, music, mathematics, and the physical sciences are all manifestations of the common muse.

The Life of R.K. Narayan

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March 26th, 2007

R.K. Narayan Narayan’s fiction rarely addresses political issues or high philosophy. He writes with grace and humor, about a fictional town Malgudi and its inhabitants; and their little lives. Narayan is a classic teller of tales; an enduring appeal springs from his canvas where common men and women of all times and places are joined […]

Festival of the Earth: Rabindranath Tagore’s Environmental Vision

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March 16th, 2007

I knew it occurred every Autumn. And every Autumn I intended to go. And after many trials and as many errors, I finally made it one August. It was the festival of the earth.

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