Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Out of Print Author Series: Chandrahas Choudhury

Out of Print author and friend, Chandrahas Choudhury’s Arzee the Dwarf is translated into German as Der Kleine Koenig von Bombay. Editor Samhita Arni’s review that appeared in Caravan in October 2009 heralded Arzee as ‘a welcome change in a literature that has, for the most part, been susceptible to reflecting the narrow, English-speaking world of its writers and many of its readers.’ Arzee’s adventures, real and imagined, dreamt and experienced resonate to the ‘beating and pulsing’ as the blurb says, of Bombay. At the height of his despair Arzee says, ‘I’ve lived so many lives already, I’ve seen incarnations! Now I’ll live another: I’ll be a new man. I was so miserable, so desperate, so abject! But now I am at peace, now I am strong, because I’ve left my make-believe life behind.’ But if we are uncertain if his soul has been stifled by his resolve, we know it is not so as, in front of Maratha Mandir cinema hall where Dilwale Dulhaniya still plays at the matinee, he reflects on ‘the miracle of art – it stayed evergreen, kept speaking and speaking to people.’ Will this incarnation of Arzee, stay true to his essential faith in the magic of make-believe and convey the great pulsing soul of his city to a German readership? We cannot wait to hear.  

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