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Three Indians in literary shortlist

The shortlist for the third DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2013 was announced in London on November 20 and there are three Indians on it — Amitav Ghosh for River of Smoke (Penguin India), Jeet Thayil for Narcopolis (Faber and Faber) and Uday Prakash for The Walls of Delhi (translated by Jason Grunebaum; UWA Publishing, W. Australia). The others on the list are Jamil Ahmad for The Wandering Falcon (Penguin India), Tahmima Anam for The Good Muslim (Penguin Books) and Mohammed Hanif for Our Lady of Alice Bhatti (Random House India).

The winner will be announced at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival on January 25, 2013. The Rs 28lakh prize is awarded for the best work of fiction based on South Asia, published in English, including translations into English, and is not dependent on the author’s ethnicity.

Last year, the DSC Prize was awarded to Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka for Chinaman.

Siddharth Narayan’s first book, Naughty Men (Penguin Metro Reads, Rs 199), is an easy-breezy read. It’s about guy-next-door Karan, consulting partner at McArthur’s. His problems are also like that of the guy next door. Wife (with increasing resemblance to Nirupa Roy): Check. No sex: Double check. There’s Rohan, their seven-year-old son. There’s over-interfering father-in-law Narayan Swamy, who doesn’t believe in the concept of space — he surprised (read shocked) them by landing up on their honeymoon!

Enter IIM wing-mate Sid. The cool guy with all the answers to life’s midlife questions posed by Karan and his “friend” Nunu (yes, he has many conversations with his, er, thing!). Gayathri the shrink is found online. She’s expensive but Karan decides not to bargain because he is scared she might post his hypnosis video on YouTube. Baby Detective Agency is also found online (to keep track of Narayan Swamy). Massage parlours, yoga and salsa lessons and a “dry” road trip down to the coast are thrown in.

so, Rajinikanth’s next film is planned, a sort of desi Matrix with an item number by Lady Gaga and a Japanese song to cater to his Japanese fans. In this film, Rajini will have a USB port in his brain so if he wants to fly an F-16, a flier manual will be loaded into the brain and off he will go (LOL if you must).

What works for this lad lit is that it doesn’t try too hard. It’s cool and funny and quite entertaining in an effortless sort of way. Siddharth Narayan knows the KISS rule and he has kept it really, really simple, silly!