September 12th, 2007
Episode 158 of 342 episodes
World Book Club’s Harriett Gilbert talks to the acclaimed Indian writer Amit Chaudhuri, in front of a multi-national audience and listeners around the world at the Nehru Centre in London. Chaudhuri will discuss his novel The Immortals, which is about the place of Indian classical music in the modern world. Set in the heart of the world of the Bombay middle class, it tells the story of three very different classical-musicians whose lives thread in and out of each other in 1970s and 80s Bombay. The city itself is on a roll -- expanding, growing ever richer and more glittery -- and the novel's main characters are variously jostled by the changes taking place around them. But they're also struggling with such matters as the place of musical tradition in the modern world, and the need to earn a living while pursuing an artistic vocation. Amit Chaudhuri himself is a musician as well as author and he talks about how contemporary Indian classical music is currently in a moribund state, as it takes a great deal of commitment to be successful. And in a novel filled with strong and lively characters, Amit explains how difficult he finds it to write characters, and how in his work as a teacher of creative writing, he finds characterisation impossible to teach. Hear him also read three extracts from The Immortals and take calls from listeners in Delhi and Pennsylvania who will bring their own international perspective to the story.