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Tuesday, Nov 30, 2021
Outlook.com
Cover Story

Goddess Of The Moment

The Booker, an endless limo, lots of champagne... Arundhati Roy, literary wonder, attains her Locust Stand I

Goddess Of The Moment
Goddess Of The Moment
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

THE literary world of London is American enough to have hired one of those endless limousines to carry the Booker winner to the party at a Soho club. Not surprisingly that American stretch superlative, packed with champagne, had trouble rounding a bend towards the entrance of Guildhall where Arundhati Roy had just been awarded the prize. A car was in the way—Salman Rushdie's. It took some frantic hollering from David Godwin, Roy's agent, to alert Rushdie that he was blocking the path. And in a divine symbolism conjured up by some small god, the master of magic realism pulled out of the way to make way for the new star.

The Booker had begun to look more and more hers with every passing day to the Day. Literary London was convinced that the petite, flamboyant Roy had what it takes: a first-rate book, an exotic background, great personal style. Helping her along was what some considered weak competition. Alan Ross, legendary editor of the London literary magazine, said: "It's the thinnest list in years," but admitted to admiring Roy's book. Yet she never became a favourite with the bookies. In fact, as October 14 neared, and the chorus for her began to grow, some began to feel that the stage was set for the jury to axe her, and assert its self-respect by declaring itself above public opinion. Ian Jack, editor of Granta , said: "She deserves to win it, but she won't."

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