Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Discovering Anita Desai and Malcolm Lowry

I hadn't read anything by Anita Desai before, but just loved her gorgeous, short novel Clear Light of Day, a collection of disappointments and sadnesses, sprinkled with joy as two sisters Bim and Tara look back on their childhood in India in 1940s and their lives post-Partition. Here's a short clip of Desai  talking about Indian writers writing in English. And a longer interview here. Also, I recently discovered the writer Malcolm Lowry (1909-1957), this Oscar-nominated documentary from 1976, 'Volcano, An Inquiry into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry' is on YouTube. It's a compelling and disturbing portrayal of the debauchery and devastation of alcoholism and the cycle of perseverance and rejection and success in the writing life. I couldn't watch this film in one go, it's a disquieting experience, I watched it over a few nights,  the soundtrack is jangling and alienating. One of Lowry's friends interviewed, years after his death, wipes away a tear saying: 'The idea of such a talented man going so wrong... He could cope as long as he was drunk...' This resonates,  thinking of my own father.

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