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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Through the Forest, Darkly

I had the pleasure of attending the launch of the book, Through the Forest, Darkly, this evening. The debutant author of the book, which I gather is set against the backdrop of Naxalism, is Ranjan Kaul (on the right). For the launch, another illustrious author, Mukul Kesavan (on the left), had been asked to interview Mr Kaul about the book. The interview session was interesting, as the two exchanged notes about the process of writing and creating a make belief world.

Between the session, the author also read out some passages from his book. That part was an experience that I might have to develop a taste for. Someone reading out a novel to me, was a little disturbing because I am the kind of reader, who assigns a certain voice to the characters of the book as I read along. However, I was told that this is the norm at launches. So, like everything else that I cannot control, I decided to enjoy this part as well.

Sorry, the quality of the photograph is not too good. I was seated way back and did not want to go too near the stage while the session was on.

While listening to the question and answer session, I listed some questions that came to mind. I am listing them here, hoping that some of you might share what you think on the matter.

1. Why are most fictional writers afraid of taking a moral stand on a sensitive political issue?
2. While creating and building a character of the opposite sex, what kind of ease or difficulty do they experience?
3. How are the characters christened? And, do the names of the characters somehow dictate some characteristics of the character or after a character is named, does it while being built up exhibits certain typical characteristics? Eg: would naming a character Rahul, mean that he would be playful, naughty but very righteous?

P.S: The author is my boss and the book has been published by Hachette India.


rupam sarma said...

@priyanka Nice to read your post.

Best Regards

ranjan said...

Here are my answers, Priyanka, lest you accuse authors of being unresponsive!

1. I can only speak for myself on this issue. In fiction, in my view, the book should speak for itself. Once you've read Through the Forest, Darkly, I think you'll get an idea of my political views, though I wouldn't want the book to be bracketed as a "political novel".

2. It is as difficult to write about a character of the opposite sex as someone of the same sex but whose character and moral position are quite different from that of the author. But that is the fun part!

3. Yes, there is atendency among authors to name a character after some trait or type. Sometimes, you name someone who has just the opposite characterisitcs just to be ironical. And, at times, you just christen a character out of the blue or because you know someone who is similar and the name just stays on.

Let me know what you think once you've read the novel.

Ranjan Kaul


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