A critic is a eunuch in a harem: Suketu Mehta | brunch$feature | Hindustan Times
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A critic is a eunuch in a harem: Suketu Mehta

Suketu Mehta talks on Twitter about his new book, his writing routine and what he thinks of critics

brunch Updated: Sep 09, 2016 14:10 IST
Maximum City

Suketu Mehta’s first book Maximum City: Bombay Lost & Found (a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize) is considered among the best in the vast literature that has been written about Bombay(Photo courtesy: suketumehta.com)

Suketu Mehta talks on Twitter about his new book, his writing routine and what he thinks of critics

What is Remembered, Suketu Mehta’s first book in 12 years since his award-winning nonfiction debut Maximum City (2004), was published on the Juggernaut app on Monday night. The excitement around its release was understandable given that Maximum City (a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize) is considered among the best in the vast literature that has been written about Bombay.

Mehta’s new short work of fiction, however, has so far received mixed reviews – from being called the “perfect novella for Trump’s America” to being full of “classism, casteism and Orientalist cliches”. The story follows a successful Gujarati immigrant around New York as he tries to remember his roots.

In a Twitter interaction on Thursday, the 53-year-old author, who also teaches journalism at New York University, talked about his new novella , how he likes to write across genres, the act of remembering and forgetting, and his forthcoming books, among other things.

Given the disappointment that has followed the new book’s release, it was interesting that Mehta compared critics to eunuchs in a harem. Borrowing (or rather paraphrasing) Irish writer Brendan Behan’s words without attribution, Mehta said, “A critic is a eunuch in a harem: he observes, he comments, he judges, but he does not practice”.

On trying out different genres

On his favourite cities

On what he thinks of critics

On teaching writing

On What is Remembered

On physical books vs e-books

On how to deal with too much history

On his writing routine

On his forthcoming books

From HT Brunch, September 8, 2016

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