The Caravan

Forthcoming


My new book
Difficult Pleasures (Penguin Viking 2012) is a collection of stories about solitary, brooding types who spend a lot of time inside their own heads. At the same time, these folks are fascinated by what are the, I hope, recognizable urban, contemporary landscapes they live in. The city is a big presence. As are love, childhood disappointments, dreams of travel, relationships with
parents, literature, artistic and material aspirations and … water shortages.







FROM THE REVIEW
S

“This collection shows a range of subjects, settings and characters, always with an eye on the inner truth and the stumbling ironies of modern life… Writing fiction with craft is an endangered skill today. Hasan cares about getting it just right. There aren’t enough like her around.”
Read full review in New Indian Express


“13 perfectly crafted short stories that subtly explore the urban Indian mind...Anjum Hasan shows sheer mastery and certain brilliance in the way she weaves a plausible story around the ordinary.”

Read full review in Deccan Herald


Difficult Pleasures is a reminder of what classic short stories are like, and that the most eloquent authors let their characters do the talking.”

Read full review in Timeout (Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru editions).


The 13 stories in Difficult Pleasures are a good indicator why Anjum Hasan is widely regarded as a rising star on the literary horizon, as fluid in prose as poetry
.

Read the full review in the Hindu Literary Review


“While many are brutally honest in admitting the fact that short story is a genre struggling hard under the shadow of its mightier cousin, the novel, the arrival of a collection of short stories like Difficult Pleasures …busts all such myths.”

Read full review in The Telegraph


Delicious collection of short stories... Hasan has done a masterly job placing these stories before us like delicate, translucent slivers of life…

Read full review in India Today

 “Each of the 13 stories is a gem…Beautifully told and effortlessly written.”
The Tribune


“The lyrical style and intricate detailing of her characters’ inner selves that was evident in her novels, works even better in this collection of short stories.”

Read full review in DNA


“The short stories are masterfully crafted, and examine people and their relationships through a lens that is at once thoughtful, critical and ironic.”

People magazine

 

“These are humane, unshowy tales that depend more on character than on plot for their effects, and the best of them... are moving and eloquent.”

Indian Express


Anjum Hasan has to be appreciated for her simple writing and the soul-stirring conversations... The stories are unpredictable and you will get hooked.
Read full review in Express Buzz


Think of the book [Difficult Pleasures] as a collection of prose photographs, each deftly capturing some version of the urban Indian. You can look at them from a distance while still falling into their lives."

Read full review in Tehelka



# Read an e
xcerpt from my short story "History of Touch" in The Hindustan Times.


# Read my short story "Wild Things" from Difficult Pleasures in Pratilipi.


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"What brought about Difficult Pleasures?

My discovery of the pleasures of the short story — its delicacy and brevity. And my attempt to use this form to explore the many different kinds of urban lives that I'm curious about. Most of my stories are driven by individual, even solitary characters — they are not about big families or community lives. The short story became for me the perfect vehicle to describe specific urban experiences — love and loneliness, ambivalent feelings between parents and children or among siblings, minor dents in marital relationships that can suddenly deepen, where and how artists find inspiration, what a life of travel might do to a person, and so on."

Read full interview in the Hindu Literary Review, May 6

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Going Nowhere Always

My review-essay of a wonderful new selection of the work of Dom Moraes, one of India's finest poets

Read full essay in August 2012 issue of Caravan


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What We Talk About When We Talk About Sri Lanka

How do Sri Lankan writers recreate their country in their fiction?

Read full essay in the July 2012 issue of Caravan

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Individual Lives

Kiran Nagarkar is that rare writer who has nothing to prove except fidelity to his characters.



IF THE BILINGUAL AND VERSATILE Kiran Nagarkar is unique among Indian novelists, his novel Ravan and Eddie (1995) together with its new sequel, The Extras: Starring Ravan and Eddie (Fourth Estate, 476 pages, 499), demonstrates yet another reason why: his ability to create those voluminous and self-contained universes that we are familiar with from 19th-century novels but rarely encounter today... [Read full essay in the March 2012 issue of Caravan]

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What Would Dickens Write Today?

Good old Dickie turns 200 this year and British Council India invited five writers to try and answer that question.



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Lekhana: A literary weekend at NGMA, Bangalore

Friday, February 10, 5.30PM

PANEL: THE CITY IN LITERATURE — moderated by MK Raghavendra: Anjum Hasan, Zac O’ Yeah, KR Usha, Saniya


Saturday, February 11,
3.30PM

READING: Anjum Hasan, Indira Chandrsekhar

See full programme here.


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Forthcoming! Street on the Hill in Norwegian translation (Translated by Lene E Westerås, published MARGbok)




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All the King’s Men

Our world, in the imagination of postmodern novelists, is fragmented. Can  writers of Hari Kunzru’s calibre put it back together again?

AS A TEEN I WAS INFATUATED for a while with the inspirational American writer Richard Bach—not so much his multimillion-copy bestseller about how birds learn to fly, but more The Bridge Across Forever, in which the author meets his soulmate-to-be. To test their love, he sells his Florida home and she turns her back on Hollywood. The two camp out in a trailer in the Mojave desert—a blank, featureless background from which the occasional rattlesnake glides out. Leslie and Dick spend time flying their sailplanes, working on their egos and coming around to accepting the ‘made for each other’ conclusion...

[Read the full essay in The Caravan, November, 2011]



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Late Summer and Mornings

Late summer, and mornings have nothing to do with evenings,
evenings untouched by mornings. The ghee light pouring over
streets and terraces out of a bottomless sky, loving everything
all morning, taking nothing back, concentrating in the small
gold champak flowers that men greedily balance on branches for.
Late summer sounds – dogs and nadeswarams, the last rites
of weddings, bikes with almost disco thundering, crack-lunged
buyers of old paper, buckets filling anew, and the butter light
melting in its own heat against compound walls and parked cars:
the generous light in which butterflies turn the same colour as the champak
stars among the last clumps of jacaranda, and the cassia tree flowering and
flowering in wilting yellow like no one told it to stop. Slow drip
of late summer thoughts – forgiving one’s faults, everything becoming
a plan to find a place where it’s always this late summer merge
between drums and bees knocking hard against panes, the dish-washing
clamour, and the flickering voices inside that one sits trying, with both
hands, to keep alive, not realising that this is that place, this is that place,
and when one does it’s too late because the palms striped with sky
are thrashing about with something that almost has a human name,
and then it rains and rains and rains.

Later the children come out and collect in corners like wet ants.
The air is crowded with their new-born questions –
Are you pushing me? Is that a snake?


Published in the November 15, 2011 edition of Poetry International Web