Episode 14 - Amit Chaudhuri Part 2

13Jul

The second part of my chat with Amit Chaudhuri began with a discussion of his literary inheritance - that combined Philip Larkin with Tagore. 

From there we headed towards Bengali culture and onwards to: 
  • Ideas of 'ownership' of culture - Bengali and English
  • English conceptions of India and 'Asia'
  • class in India and England
  • finding your voice as a writer
  • discovering that your subject is 'the rhythms of the everyday' 
  • 'What you see on the street, from a window, a balcony...Maybe even the toilet and the bath as private spaces where you achieve certain kind of movements...'
  • the influence of Ulysses - for and against
  • a Portrait of Chaudhuri of a Young (Tolstory and Joyce) Reader
  • 'I suddenly realised that Tolstoy's way was not going to be my way'
  • reading, writing and daydreaming
  • looking, place and translation - Dublin and Calcutta
  • falling love with DH Lawrence - 'the everyday was always being transformed'
  • the problems of plot
  • memoir v autobiographical fiction
  • 'I am not in any conventional way interested in autobiography'
  • stories and repetition 
  • further thoughts on Joyce and the 'joy in the provisional'
  • writing as an act of memorialisation 
  • 'For me, more alive means all the inconsequential, random things that make up our lives'
  • Homer - Odysseus meets his son
  • was writing Odysseus Abroad cathartic in any way
  • Chaudhuri as musician

And with that, pretty much, Chaudhuri's taxi arrived. For James Wood's review in The New Yorker, click here.

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