Sunday, October 04, 2009

Neti, Neti at CMYK

A quick shout-out for a new bookstore and a fine new book: Anjum Hasan’s second novel Neti, Neti (Not This, Not This) is being launched this week and I’ll be speaking with her about it at the newly opened CMYK book shop in the Meher Chand Market on 7th October, at 7 pm.

I wrote about Hasan’s first novel Lunatic in my Head here. Sophie Das – who was an eight-year-old living in Shillong (and in the world of her own imagination) in the first book – is a young woman of 25 in Neti, Neti. She has been living and working in Bangalore for a year, having effectively moved from one country to another, and Hasan does an excellent job of portraying her growing disaffection with both her present and her past life. The second novels of writers who scored a hit with their first are often disappointing, but this one isn’t. I thought it was an easier read than Lunatic in my Head (which isn’t meant as a judgement on either book) and this may partly be because their tones are dictated by their respective settings: Lunatic... was about three people feeling weighed down in a city where nothing ever seems to move, while Neti, Neti is set in a world where too much seems to be going on at once.

Come for the event if you can. And do look out for the book.


  1. I read Lunatic in my head with Pink Floyd as a background score. I think I really "got into" the book by doing that! :)
    Looking forward to neti,neti ...

  2. Lunatic in my head is my favourite Shillong novel..I could relate to most of the characters especially the Pink Floyd fan.Moreover it had an outsiders perspective on life in North East wihout ever being judgemental..something I find fascinating being an insider myself.
    Looking forward to Neti,neti..thanks for the review.

  3. Having been in the North East on and off, I picked up Lunatic after reading your review a few months back. Was quite disappointed by it. The setting made it different and it was painstakingly constructed as a "novel" but it just never became interesting enough to continue.

    Separately, when will Indians ever move on from Pink Floyd?!

  4. Is the shop worth checking out? I've got the book.

  5. DD: it's a nice little shop with an emphasis on coffee-table books and titles on specialised subjects (gardening, cookery, film) - definitely worth visiting once to see if you find something you wouldn't get elsewhere.

  6. Separately, when will Indians ever move on from Pink Floyd?!

    I'm more inclined to wonder why more Indians aren't into the wonderful early, pre-DSOTM Floyd, including Syd Barrett's psychedelic visions that might so easily have steered the band in a completely different direction.