Gautham Menon on working with Ilayaraja

Posted by Anantha | Posted in | Posted on Friday, June 22, 2012


Found this interview of Gautham Menon about Ilayaraja here. Nice to read about how The Legend makes his music, his preferences, his style of working etc. There's something very genuine about this whole conversation...

Summertime by J M Coetzee

Posted by Anantha | Posted in | Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2012


I came across this novel from my favorite Kannada blogger and profound literary critic, Narendra Pai in one of his blogposts.

I am sure every mortal has spared a thought about how would world remember him after his death. This novel is entirely a collection of interviews of people who were once close to J M Coetzee in the 1970s – a period, an English interviewer Vincent considers to be a very important phase in the life of the character J M Coetzee after latter’s death! The character J M Coetzee in the novel is also a writer sharing great similarities with the real life novelist himself. The boundary between real Coetzee and the character in the novel is blurry.

The novel starts with some interesting fragments from the diary of J M Coetzee, some of them ending with a curious footnote reading “to be expanded later”. Then the interviews begin of Julia – a married woman with whom Coetzee had an illicit affair, Margot – Coetzee’s cousin, Adrina – Brazilian dancer who claims Coetzee almost stalked her and her daughter, Martin – Coetzee’s once colleague and Sophie – Coetzee’s another colleague with whom Coetzee had an affair. Quite predictably there are more women who opines about Coetzee than men, as woman could bring out the best and also the worst in a man. Also it’s always interesting to know Venusian retrospect of a Martian and vice versa. Moreover, all these interviews are not sequential, as in Vincent did not interview these in the same order as narrated in the book.

With some of these interviewees ready to bare all to Vincent, while some judiciously revealing the bits and pieces about Coetzee – as a loner, not a man of great character, surely not charming, incompetent, introverted, highly opinionated, who always carried this mysterious aura around – the reader tries to complete the jigsaw puzzle from the pieces collected from these interviews. As mentioned in Narendra Pai’s blog, if we do not read the interviews as narrated in the book and pick them up randomly, there are chances that we get a different image of Coetzee. A slightly different man, than we perceived him to be. That’s really an amazing technique in the narration, to play with the minds of the readers.

But why try to understand a writer from interviews of some people, and why not his novels, writings, letters and memoirs. When the same question is asked by one of the interviewees, Vincent justifies by saying it would not be right to trust Coetzee from his memoirs and letters as he was a fictioneer. From the interviews of Margot and Julia, it was evident that Coetzee wanted to be remembered even after his death for the generations to come, if not for time immemorial. Hence Vincent could be right in saying that Coetzee being a fictioneer could have projected an altered self in his memoirs and letters. That raises a very interesting question of how do you describe the true self of a man? It is understandable and natural too if there is a gap between what we think we are and what we actually are, but from the above lines of Vincent, what we get to know about a person is always an opinion or is it a version of him or an interpretation. Is objective review almost an improbable thing… That's a pretty interesting thought.
Summertime is actually the third book in the trilogy by J M Coetzee. It’s time for me to pick up the first two – Boyhood and Youth soon.