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Walk

Vikram Seth, 8 February 1990

... I walked last night with my old friend Past the old house where we first met, Past each known bush and each known bend. The moon shone, and the path was wet. No one passed by us as we strolled At our sad ease. Though hand in hand We did not speak. Our hands grew cold, Yet we walked on as we had planned. We did not deal in words or tears. At the dead light we did not rage ...

Forms and Inspirations

Vikram Seth, 29 September 1988

... The first writing I did – apart from school essays and articles for the school paper – was some poems I wrote when I was unhappily lovestruck at University. They were in very free measures, and, indeed, very free syntax. I had read enough modern poetry by then to convince myself that rhyme and metre were passé, and that, anyway, the fierce and miserable beating of my heart was not to be contained by what Frost, I believe, called, with seeming disparagement, ‘rhymey-dimey stuff ...

Mooching

Nicholas Spice: Dreaming of Vikram Seth, 29 April 1999

An Equal Music 
by Vikram Seth.
Phoenix House, 381 pp., £16.99, April 1999, 1 86159 117 9
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... I met Vikram Seth by chance, he met me by mistake. He sat down next to me at an occasion he had never meant to attend. It was 6.45 p.m. on Thursday 25 March at the Royal Society of Literature in Bayswater. Seth had come to hear a friend of his read. I had come to hear the Minister for the Arts describe the Government’s support for literature ...

Games-Playing

Patrick Parrinder, 7 August 1986

The Golden Gate 
by Vikram Seth.
Faber, 307 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13967 1
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The Haunted House 
by Rebecca Brown.
Picador, 139 pp., £8.95, June 1986, 0 330 29175 0
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Whole of a Morning Sky 
by Grace Nichols.
Virago, 156 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 86068 774 0
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The Piano Tuner 
by Peter Meinke.
Georgia, 156 pp., $13.95, June 1986, 0 8203 0844 7
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Tap City 
by Ron Abell.
Secker, 273 pp., £10.95, July 1986, 0 436 00025 3
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... novel in verse? It’s all a question of expectations, and in The Golden Gate the Indian-born poet Vikram Seth single-handedly overturns most readers’ expectations about what can, and cannot, pass as a novel. Whatever the frame of mind in which you begin it, by the end it has come to seem the most natural – and the most accessible, and easily ...

Sugar-Sticky

Gabriele Annan: Anita Desai, 27 May 1999

Fasting, Feasting 
by Anita Desai.
Chatto, 240 pp., £14.99, June 1999, 0 7011 6894 3
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... them. Closet New Agers will be thrilled. The potential readership is huge.’ So boo squish to Vikram Chandra too, and a reprimand even for Vikram Seth, who doesn’t go in for mystical mythography, it is true, but might be accused of narrative plethora; he certainly fits in with the idea of fiction held by ...

Indian Summa

John Lanchester, 22 April 1993

A Suitable Boy 
by Vikram Seth.
Phoenix, 1349 pp., £20, March 1993, 1 897580 20 7
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... The Indian reviews are generally rupee-driven, and widely acclamatory; one magazine says that Seth ‘has become India’s answer to Pearl S. Buck and Tolstoy’. The English reviews are also rupee-driven, and are more acclamatory still; the favourite comparison is with Middlemarch. Salman Rushdie writes to the papers to deny a rumour that he had ...

In the Spirit of Mayhew

Frank Kermode: Rohinton Mistry, 25 April 2002

Family Matters 
by Rohinton Mistry.
Faber, 487 pp., £16.99, April 2002, 0 571 19427 3
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... Narayan, who flourished from the Thirties to the Eighties of the last century. The achievements of Vikram Seth, Arundhati Roy and others now at work suggest that it still flourishes despite the opposition view that modern Indians should not write in English. India has a great many languages and English can be thought of as just one more of them, but that ...

Flying the flag

Patrick Parrinder, 18 November 1993

The Modern British Novel 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Secker, 512 pp., £20, October 1993, 0 436 20132 1
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After the War: The Novel and English Society since 1945 
by D.J. Taylor.
Chatto, 310 pp., £17.99, September 1993, 9780701137694
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... and the free movement of ideas, so that Rushdie and Henry James are in, as are Doris Lessing and Vikram Seth. But Bradbury is remarkably ambivalent about at least one novelist who might be hospitably claimed as a modern British master – V.S. Naipaul, who is briefly referred to as ‘the Trinidadian novelist’. This might place him with such ...

Diary

Sanjay Subrahmanyam: Another Booker Flop, 6 November 2008

... of DLF City police station said driver Rajeshwar Mandal was sitting in the vehicle and the owner, Vikram Veer, had gone to a restaurant at Infinity Towers. ‘Two youths armed with pistols entered into an altercation with the driver saying he had hit their car. The youths then pushed the driver inside and drove the car away,’ Kumar said. The robbers ...

Where Does He Come From?

Sanjay Subrahmanyam: Placing V.S. Naipaul, 1 November 2007

A Writer’s People: Ways of Looking and Feeling 
by V.S. Naipaul.
Picador, 193 pp., £16.99, September 2007, 978 0 330 48524 1
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... save the ‘American’ – looks and sounds more like Naipaul himself than, say, Arundhati Roy or Vikram Seth. Do the Indian Naxalites in Naipaul’s novels not sound as though they have been ground and thoroughly sifted through his own authorial mill? Is this not another case of a lack of self-awareness? It would appear that for Naipaul there is only ...

Diary

Giles Gordon: Experimental Sideshows, 7 October 1993

... or was Beckett somehow recording what confronted him? Would I have been bemused by (my client) Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy had I not spent a little time in India? I would not, because Seth hasn’t written an ‘experimental’ novel (unless all novels are experimental’), complex though his book is in ...

The Uncommon Reader

Alan Bennett: A Story, 8 March 2007

... classics did you have in mind, Sir Kevin? The Kama Sutra?’ Sir Kevin sighed. ‘I am reading Vikram Seth at the moment. Would he count?’ Though the private secretary had never heard of him he thought he sounded right. ‘Salman Rushdie?’ ‘Probably not, maam.’ ‘I don’t see,’ said the Queen, ‘why there is any need for a press release ...

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