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Raymond Carver and me

Suspend belief for a moment. Imagine Raymond Carver didn’t succumb to lung cancer in 1988 and is still walking and writing among us. He’d be ten days off turning 74 and likely would have continued to shape the modern short story, solidifying himself even further as one of last century’s most important writers. And now imagine, upon hearing about Sincere Forms of Flattery, he agreed to do an interview with Indian writer, Kailash Srinivasan, who idolises Carver and his creative genius and chose Carver as his author for SFOF. Imagine, imagine, imagine.

We think the interview would have done a little something like this…

***

I’m sitting on this yellow couch, in this otherwise sparse room, waiting for Raymond Carver, and frankly, hyperventilating. Then all of a sudden he walks in, like an elephant, unperturbed and towering over everything in the room, including me, in a flannel shirt and khakis. His feet are bare. I tell him almost immediately that he looks a bit like Sean Connery, and he says, “That’s nice, thank you.”

I feel like giggling and weeping at the same time. I can feel it rising up to my throat, like vomit, and if I don’t vocalise it, it will manifest itself in some way or the other, so I blurt it out.

Me: Will you please adopt me, please?

Carver: I have always been broke. I still am. Think about it.

Me: Please, please, please teach me how to write like you. Will you? Please say yes. Yes?

Carver: (Laughs) Why would you want that? I want you to write like you, not like me. Would you rather be known as Carver Junior or Kailash Srinivasan? I like your name. Sounds intellectual. Wish I had a name like that.

Me: Would you tell me what you think of this story I wrote?

Carver: (Puts his glasses on, glances through). Cut these words in the opening paragraph, these in the middle and at the end.

Me: But it’s only 1000 words long anyway. It’s down to five hundred now.

Carver: But now, it pierces the heart with more force.

Me: Do you think I should take to drinking, work crap jobs, become a young dad, and go broke to write better?

Carver: (Laughs, again) There were these long periods of time when I did not write any fiction. How I wish I had those years back now! If I hadn’t turned to the bottle in that time, I might’ve been richer, possibly, and might’ve had a much larger volume of work.

Me: Where do you get your stories from? From your own life?

Carver: None of my stories have actually happened, but there’s always something said to me, or that I heard or witnessed, which, if it stays with me, becomes a starting point for a story. Stories can’t come out of thin air, they’re mostly referential. Everything we write has a small part of us in it.

Me: I am only allowed to ask you five questions, so I’ll have to leave now. I don’t want to.

Carver: Well, you can always email them to me. You can, of course, hang around. I can make you a Tuna sandwich, if you like. I promise not to answer any more of your questions, but I will tell you a thing or two about writing short stories.

I fall at his feet, crying, “Yes, of course I will. I’d be an idiot if I didn’t. And thank you, thank you so much for talking to me.” Then we talked of the time when he published his first story, Pastoral, and how he and his wife had driven around town with the letter of acceptance in his hands. And how that letter had given their lives some much-needed validation.

Via@http://oandspublishing.com/2012/05/15/kailash-srinivasan-raymond-carver/

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First-time author Kailash Srinivasan talks about first book and his creative inspirations

with his first book

“THE only reason why I chose the jobs I work for is because they involve writing, which I feel is essential to my being.” Born in Delhi, but now based in Pune, 30year old author Kailash Srinivasan was in school when he started writing essays, letters and poems. But he became serious in 2006. “I felt the need to study creative writing, but there was no such university course being offered in India. Thus, I went to Macquarie University, Sydney, but I seriously started considering myself as an author when I won a Cambridge University Press prize in fiction,” he says. His collection of short stories called What Happened to that Love? was released recently in the city.

Writing is a hobby for Srinivasan. He works primarily as a communications manager in a city-based firm and doubles up as a freelance ad-man. His book has 12 short stories which are all, except for a couple that deal with an Australian context, based in India. They all also bear a similar theme, but Srinivasan denies it is by design. “When I started writing these stories, I was not looking at any particular issue. But as I went on, I discovered that I had written on what I felt needs to be addressed in human society. My stories deal with superstition, witch hunts, the zamindari system and racism. One of the tales, with an Australian backdrop, deals with the anguish an elderly couple faces when they are neglected by their children. I feel strongly that the independence enjoyed by the children in the Western world actually works against them in many ways,” he says.

As a newcomer on the literary scene, Srinivasan quotes a bias in favour Indian authors based in the West. “We tend to not appreciate our own authors as much, till we get a Western stamp of approval. There is a lot of talent in the country, but unfortunately it is only those based outside India who are considered good authors in English,” opines Srinivas. He attributes this attitude to a need to categorise. “When one or two fail to deliver from the country, a generalisation seeps in that creates a bias in the minds of publishers.”

Now working on a still-unnamed second book, Srinivasan, who cites Raymond Carver, Anton Chekhov and Ernest Hemingway as his inspirations, says that other forms of art help him remain creative. “I’m very passionate about music and acting; I sometimes act in plays in the city and am a trained vocalist. Being immersed in these arts helps me explore new themes as an author, and keeps my creative instincts ticking,” he smiles.

SOURCE: http://epaper.indianexpress.com/IE/IEH/2011/02/19/ArticleHtmls/19_02_2011_586_030.shtml?Mode=1

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Praise for “What Happened to That Love”

http://www.flipkart.com/happened-love-kailash-srinivasan-book-812231161x

Review by Seema

Saw glimpses of mine in ‘My hand’. ‘My black and blue birthday’ brought tears to my eyes. Jake and Jim (in What happened to that love) really makes one think about human relationships and filled me with sadness. ‘Gilligilli-jillijilli’ and ‘The giver of  feasts’ sent a chill up my spine..eerie. ‘Gratitude’ was a bit melodramatic subject.. Gopal in ‘What do I do’ was a very good portrait, complete with minute observations and humor.

All in all i liked the stories. All the best for your next release.

seema

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Review by Pierre Beaudoin

I was pleased to read your book, in one single sitting. I found you have an active, succinct and direct style which helps move on the narrative (isn’t this what short stories are all about?) and is a perfect match to the short story form.
There is definitely quite a lot of material to draw from in the Indian culture, especially it facing modernization and the contradictions, and I am certain that Western readers would be thrilled to read more of your stories.

Best of Luck.

_____

Review by ajay
the cover: brilliantly dark and intriguing.
the stories: deliciously dark. I am still smacking my lips. The synopsis and the cover is what got my attention. I am so, so glad I picked this up. Can’t wait to read your second book.
____

Wow. what beautiful writing.
Review by kala
I cried my eyes out after I read the first piece, Anytime Now. So moving, so nicely written. I love the way you write. Can’t wait to read the other stories in the collection. ; )

____

Review by swarita
engrossing…kept me hooked for as many dayz as it took to finish it..each story amazingly different n unpredictable. d only grumble- its a lil stark..a lil bleak. more happy endings plz!

____

An excellent read!

Review by Gopi
A fantastic effort. Surprised to see a first time author display such maturity in handling complex themes. A must read and a must have for every short story aficionado.

Go buy your copy today

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What Happened To That Love? by Kailash Srinivasan, ISBN: 9788122311617 | Pustak Mahal

What Happened To That Love? by Kailash Srinivasan, ISBN: 9788122311617 | Pustak Mahal.

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My First Book

Cover of my book

My short story collection is finally out.

All you folks out there who like to read quality fiction, check out my first book, a collection of short stories.

I can do with some support:D
You can go to any of these following links to buy your copy:

http://www.pustakmahal.com/books/book/what-happened-that-love-kailash-srinivasan/isbn-9788122311617/zb,,4a1,a,0,INR,0,a/index.html

http://books.rediff.com/book/kailash-srinivasan/what-happened-to-that-love/ISBN:9788122311617/96798188

http://www.flipkart.com/happened-love-kailash-srinivasan-book-812231161x

You should purchase my book: –  If you are an avid reader and are always on the lookout for quality fiction;

if you are tired of “wannabe”, atrociously written books by IIM and IIT pass outs who should stop writing and switch to an office job;

if you love short stories

I hope you will read my book as I am very keen to know what you think about it.

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