What is the charm of novels about ordinary life – where nothing happens? - Hindustan Times
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What is the charm of novels about ordinary life – where nothing happens?

ByAmitava Kumar
Apr 02, 2016 07:09 PM IST

What is the charm of novels about ordinary life – where nothing happens? And what do these books tell us about our own lives?

“Eight Essential Tips for Writers” or “10 Rules for Writing Fiction” or “Advice from Writers” – such bland compilations often include the following line from Kurt Vonnegut: “Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.”

Lives less ordinary: Vivek Shanbhag’s Ghachar Ghochar belongs to the genre described as “books in which nothing happens”. Stoner by John Williams, about an unremarkable life, is one of the most moving stories I have read
Lives less ordinary: Vivek Shanbhag’s Ghachar Ghochar belongs to the genre described as “books in which nothing happens”. Stoner by John Williams, about an unremarkable life, is one of the most moving stories I have read
Paying attention: In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman (below, a still from the 1951 film adaptation), the wife says: “I don’t say he is a great man. Willy Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He’s not the finest character that ever lived. But he’s a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid.” (Getty Images)
Paying attention: In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman (below, a still from the 1951 film adaptation), the wife says: “I don’t say he is a great man. Willy Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He’s not the finest character that ever lived. But he’s a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid.” (Getty Images)
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