November 05, 2007

Gloriously Impure and Back in Print

The New York Review of Books will bring G V Desani's All About H Hatterr back into print this month. Please go out and get yourself a copy of this classic immediately. If you need a reason, read the reviews compiled here or this excerpt from Anthony Burgess' introduction: is the language that makes the book, a sort of creative chaos that grumbles at the restraining banks. It is what may be termed Whole Language, in which philosophical terms, the colloquialisms of Calcutta and London, Shakespeareian archaisms, bazaar whinings, quack spiels, references to the Hindu pantheon, the jargon of Indian litigation, and shrill babu irritability seethe together. It is not pure English; it is, like the English of Shakespeare, Joyce and Kipling, gloriously impure.

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