Greatest Indian Novels: Interview with Manju Kapur

  • Saudamini Jain, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Jun 21, 2014 20:18 IST

You've said you write several novels at once. Were you working on other books while writing Difficult Daughters as well?
It took me long to write Difficult Daughters, 8 years from beginning to end. During its composition, ideas would occur for other novels. I began to sketch them in so as not to lose them. Thus the habit began and grew.

Is it easy to write about things you know?
It's almost never easy to write. Because writing is not merely describing a series of events, it is conveying a world view, it aims to persuade, to convince, to move. Obviously it is easier if you attempt to do all this with something you know, especially since fiction writing is more effective if done from the inside.

How aware are you of the reader's experience when you're writing?
What I do keep in mind is the best and most effective way to communicate the experiences that I am writing about. So I am very conscious of how I present my narrative. I want my story to have an impact, both emotional and intellectual, I want that the reader should think after s/he has read my book, I want it to remain in his / her mind, and to achieve this I can spend years on a novel.

Do you always set your novels out to be, at some level, feminist novels?
Well, I am very aware of feminist thinking. I have been deeply influenced by it, and I would call myself a feminist as well. I believe it is impossible to live in the word today as a thinking person, and not be one, and this applies to both men and women. I don't set out with a conscious feminist agenda, but in describing the relationships between men and women a feminist perspective is often inevitable - and this applies to books written well before the term was invented.

From HT Brunch, June 22

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