Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Mountains, books

The Folded Earth had its first outing in Landour, Mussoorie, at the Winterline Writer's Festival. Landour is a lovely little town just of Dehradun and has some famous old residential schools, including Woodstock, where the festival was held. What do you get when you stir in a pan several hundred school-children demented with the joy of half term and sugary chocolate icebars along with a few poets, novelists, climbers, artists, wildlifers, nature writers, guitarists in a tiny hill town? There were shrieks and squeals when Paro Anand read her stories to the kindergarten population; some stiffening backs when Arvind Mehrotra read from his translations of 4 BCE erotic poetry (well after school hours); George Schaller's talked of his astonishing travels across the Tibetan plateau in search its wildlife, the Swiss photographer Coni Horler, whose brilliant landscapes were on display, gave out the secret behind his waist-length hair (coconut oil) and determined efforts revealed that Mussoorie's one-street bazaar did have a nightlife.


The book may well pitch its tent somewhere on the slopes of Kilimanjaro next, or the Alps. According to one reviewer The Folded Earth can be a handy stand-in for a hill holiday. The reviewer comments: "If you, like me, expect to be cheated out of the Himalayas again this summer, I recommend Anuradha Roy’s second novel instead. Its pages are crowded with the small intense pleasures of a long trek, to be recalled years later with unbearable yearning by a veined stone, a fossil, a dry leaf. The pain of that intimacy acknowledges the imponderable: we rush to embrace the wilderness and dread the terror of being embraced by it. The Folded Earth embodies this paradox: it is a joyous novel about grief."




Monday, 21 March 2011

The first weekend's reviews and news

Lots of "real" readers writing in to the author about The Folded Earth, which is always the best part. One reader wrote: "Just finished both your books back to back. They have left me with a tingling feeling. A very special chord was struck and somewhere along both the writings I drew parallels with my life and that I think put words into a lot of my feelings and actions. " 

Bill Aitken, writer and Himalayan wanderer wrote to say, "I find your writing superlative. I particularly respond to the moving depiction of the hill characters, especially your tender treatment of the village women... I suspect this book will end up alongside Corbett's as a Kumauni classic."

Some reviews too. Mint Lounge here. And India Today here. The book's in its second week in the bestseller list. Let's see how long it survives there.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Talking Novels


It was a freezing December afternoon, in a bleak, unheated room, when Brinda Bose spoke to Anuradha Roy about her books while Arunava Sinha sat glimmering and glinting behind the camera. The afternoon turned into evening, the room grew colder, the conversation continued. Eavesdrop here.

Early reviews of The Folded Earth in the UK

"I was captivated by The Folded Earth and swept into its narrative...tells a story about love and hate, continuity and change, loss and grief in a convincing and memorable setting"  The Independent 


"a gently perceptive story, half-comic, half poignant" Sunday Times


"her prose is tight with life" Daily Mail


"a deeply unsettling but beautiful novel... utterly enrapturing... with incredibly touching moments...Her elegiac tone also means that Roy engages with longstanding debates, for instance the detachment of formal politics from the ‘real world’, the divisiveness of Hindu nationalism and the destruction of the environment, in a truly human and emotive way...The Folded Earth constantly grapples with grandiose themes almost effortlessly... Roy’s writing remains gently poignant and metaphoric throughout, every vignette and scenario she constructs feels multi-layered and deeply meaningful." For Book's Sake



"Roy has an admirably restrained style and her novel offers a vivid evocation of north India. She conjures up striking images with the lightest of touches" Tatler


‎"A perfect treat after the hurly-burly of Christmas, this quiet, poetic tale entices you into the foothills of the Himalayas Anuradha Roy won much acclaim for her first novel.The Folded Earth, a remarkably assured work, is her second novel and filled with beautifully crafted prose...The whole is marked by an elegant restraint which serves to make the story all the more powerful." Country and Town House Magazine, UK


"Roy’s precise prose creates the atmosphere of the hill town perfectly, and the characters are memorable and convincing. Many of the scenes are almost poetic, and some are heartbreaking... This is a book about love, loss, conflict and change, captivating and beautifully written. I recommend it to individual readers and reading groups. Five stars." Newbooks Mag

Once upon a time in Ranikhet



Read an excerpt from The Folded Earth here.

JUST PUBLISHED: THE FOLDED EARTH


IN A REMOTE TOWN IN THE HIMALAYA, Maya tries to put behind her a time of great sorrow. By day she teaches in a school and at night she types up drafts of a magnum opus by her landlord, a relic of princely India known to all as Diwan Sahib. Her bond with the eccentric scholar, and her friendship with a village girl, Charu, seem to offer her the chance of a new life in Ranikhet, where lush foothills meet clear skies.

As Maya finds out, no refuge is remote or small enough. The world she has come to love, where people are connected with nature, is endangered by the town’s new administration. The impending elections are hijacked by powerful outsiders who sow division and threaten the future of her school. Charu begins to behave strangely, and Maya soon understands that a new boy in the neighbourhood may be responsible for changes in her friend. When Diwan Sahib’s nephew arrives to set up his trekking company on their estate, she is drawn to him despite herself, but his disappearances into the mountains evoke painful echoes of the past.

By turn poetic, elegiac and comic, this is a many-layered and powerful narrative about characters struggling with their pasts, a novel that poignantly reveals the strange shapes that India’s religious and social conflicts can assume even on distant mountaintops.

The Folded Earth was published in February 2011 in the UK (MacLehose Press) and India (Hachette). Read an interview about the book here