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Showing posts from July, 2012


"...some people have the mountains in them while some have the sea. The ocean exerts an inexorable pull over sea-people wherever they are – in a bright-lit, inland city or the dead centre of a desert – and when they feel the tug there is no choice but somehow to reach it and stand at its immense, earth-dissolving edge, straightaway calmed. Hill-people, even if they are born in flatlands, cannot be parted for long from the mountains. Anywhere else is exile. Anywhere else, the ground is too flat, the air too dense, the trees too broad-leaved for beauty. The colour of the light is all wrong, the sounds nothing but noise." The Folded Earth For three days it had rained as if the sky had turned into a giant shower. It was my third trip to Ranikhet and yet again I was leaving without a glimpse of the high peaks. It didn’t matter. The sound of rain on a tin roof, the dry spells when the hills were honey-coloured in the newly-washed air: who needs more? Then someone sa

Literary Topography

Novelist ANURADHA ROY’s latest book explores the complex relationships between people and place. Samantha Leese catches up with her in Jaipur ANURADHA ROY SPENDS most of her time in Ranikhet, India, where she and her husband run a small publishing house. The town is a hill station in the Himalayas that, without the renown of the colonial summer capital Shimla, still has the combined feel of Middle Earth and a Fragonard painting in some need of repair, woven through with faded-glory echoes of the British Raj. At least, that’s how it seems in The Folded Earth , Roy’s second novel, which wa slonglisted for this year’s Man Asian LiteraryPrize. Ever since the British built theirmansions and verandas in the 19th century,she writes, “Ranikhet has been made up of memories and stories: of trees laden with peaches the size of tennis balls, of strawberry patches and watercress sandwiches, of the legendary e


"How's your young lady on horseback progressing?" Tarrou would ask. And invariably Grand would answer with a wry smile: "Trotting along, trotting along!" One evening Grand announced that he had definitely discarded the adjective "elegant" for his horsewoman. From now on it was replaced by "slim." "That's more concrete," he explained. Soon after, he read out to his two friends the new version of the sentence: " 'One fine morning in May a slim young horsewoman might have been seen riding a handsome sorrel mare along the flowery avenues of the Bois de Boulogne.'  "Don't you agree with me one sees her better that way? And I've put 'one fine morning in May' because 'in the month of May' tended rather to drag out the trot, if you see what I mean." Next he showed some anxiety about the adjective "handsome." In his opinion it didn't convey enough, and he set