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Thursday, April 07, 2005


My first serious book ( read-non-fiction ) in some time, and it showed. My ignoble and appalling lack of even the author’s name, Sham Lal ( because apparently I don’t read the TOI !) sobered me and that slight diffidence stayed throughout my read.

Since it is a collection of articles and reviews which have appeared as columns in various publications, it is futile to dwell upon the variety of topics covered and elaborated upon. He speaks intelligibly and volubly on Indian art, sculpture, cinema, literature , politics, and nationalist streams of consciousness. There are more specific essays that typically stretch on to about a thousand words.

He chooses a subject and its intent, analyses it and threshes it out at great length and then finally moves unhurriedly and firmly towards a conclusion of some sort. The writing Is expansive, explanatory and exhaustive. It does not read like a treasure trove of information as it verily presupposes that the reader is already aware of the subject under scrutiny. With my understanding of the superior intellects of those TOI readers, I imagine that on an average about 6 people in all India would have read it.

Liked the oeuvre, width and tone—disliked the artistic depths plumbed


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