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Tuesday, Sep 21, 2021
Outlook.com

A Nugget Of Rediscovery

It is the stories where human lives stray plausibly, but irrevocably, into surrealist territory, while remaining touchingly human, where Sarang is at his most powerful

A Nugget Of Rediscovery
A Nugget Of Rediscovery
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Imagine that contemporary Indian writing is situated on an over-active seismic zone, where regular eruptions of frenetic energy occur on a barren plain crisscrossed by faultlines.

One of these faultlines is amnesia; we forget our best writers for decades at a stretch. Like G.V. Desani, they slip into oblivion for a generation, only to be "rediscovered" by the next. Another faultline is language: the "authentic" writer working in an Indian language is ceaselessly pitted against the impostor working in English, a language fit only for export. A third is form: the novel rules, with poetry and the short story relegated to the rear.

Vilas Sarang’s work is built across all three faultlines. This intense, blackly comic and subversive writer has been "discovered" for his poetry, criticism and his short fiction on average once a decade from the 1970s onwards. The respect for his work remains constant, even as his books shuttle in and out of print.

Sarang was 16 before he read his first full-length book in English. He wrote his first "mature" story in English, and has...

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