Krishna Shastri Divullabally | The imagination died… the imagination lives

Didn’t you hear? The novel is dead. At least, that’s what you’d believe if you read her latest obituary in a prestigious magazine, where she was quickly and thoroughly buried by people interested in Indian publishing.

In the article, a reputable editor and publisher who has worked with some of the major publishing houses in India said regarding the demise of Hindi fiction: “Today, people want to read non-fiction books because they think, ‘I should speak intellectually’. The phenomenon of social “ostentation” is the malady that has damaged the imagination. Everyone is arguing about their idea of ​​India today – at dinner tables, at parties, on social media, at literature festivals. Realistic works give them fodder for these reckless ideas.”

In other words, people who tweet and attend literary festivals and parties don’t read novels. Why post it? Because this is what the novel has always been published for: Encounters.

“Literature is in a dismal state,” said a well-known literary agent. “Publishing houses are shrinking it, and there are very few machines to support its growth.”

While the agency’s website highlights prestigious books by award-winning writers on their list, I urge the reader to check out the majority of that bloated list. The accuracy of his first claim, the dismal state of the Indian imagination, may prove quite comprehensively.

There are many people saying many things about the rotting corpse of the Hindi novel in the article I referred to, but for the purpose of this piece, the above quotes are sufficient.

That the so-called gatekeepers of this industry, the editor/publisher and literary agent, attribute the demise of the Indian novel to, one, the encounters that do not want to read novels, and the second of the publishing houses that cut their literary lists because they do not sell, makes it seem all the fault of a poor and hopeless novelist. And if the Hindi novel decides to jump off a cliff, what can they really do, helpless chapters? This, too, without leaving a suicide note, which, being non-fictional, would have been sold, damn it.

Well, since the writer of the previous article did not ask these questions, I consider myself, as a novelist and reader of non-review novels, to ask publishers, literary agents, and editors, among others, for the following.

If no one is buying fiction, could it be because of the mountainous pile of trash that has been published in the name of fiction in the past decade? And could such a large amount of unread pulp happen, for example, because the editors did not invest enough time or effort in the most important part of their work: Finding And the nurture real talent? And could it be because these lovable folk, when not posting works by their fellow classmates, were busy on social media praising each other, attending lit festivals, and handing the assignment of commissioning/talent exploration to so-called literary agents?

Could it also have something to do with publishers/editors taking the slow route of giving so much money to “famous” writers (whose books have since been bombarded) that money for real writers has become laughable? And has this, in turn, led to the old adage “If you pay the peanuts, the monkeys will do? What about the rude and tireless pursuit of Bollywood characters? Didn’t crore’s plunge into deceptive memoirs by actors and actresses drain the resources of publishing houses? Has the cumulative effect of irreparable massive progress not contributed — for the sleazy big names and Bollywood trawlers — somewhat in that publishing houses shut their doors overnight?Do you think the same “talent pool,” with the same wet pronouns and worn-out ideas, playing musical chairs for senior publishing positions had an impact on the Indian imagination? Did these back-scratching gangs (with some families turning it into a cottage industry with an idea of ​​a conflict of interest) in any way contribute to the murder of the novel and its writer?

I leave the epitaphs in the novel with this passage to Neil Gaiman:

“My cousin Helen, who is now in her 90s, was in the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. She and a group of girls in the ghetto had to do sewing every day. And if you were found with a book, the death penalty was automatic. I got a copy of Gone with the WindShe took three or four hours of her bedtime each night to read. And then, during the hour or so when they were sewing the next day, she would tell them all the story. These girls were risking certain death for the sake of a story. And when she told me that story herself, it made what I feel even more important. Because giving people stories is not a luxury. It’s actually one of the things you live and die for.

Your job, editors, publishers, and literary agents, is not just to produce what you think the audience wants. As dictated by the know-it-all sales team. It’s investing some time, money, effort and love in spreading what the world needs as well. As your heart and conscience understand it.

In short, I don’t think it was the novel or the fiction that died. far from it. Imagination will remain alive and alive as long as we – and our imaginations – are alive. I think it’s the people who work in the field of writers who need to check their impulses.


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