Physical Vs Mental Spaces

   Posted by: aman   in Other

I have been going to bookstores for the last thirty or so years. I used to go to buy comics and then it became books. When I was studying literature I used to go to buy British and American fiction written by the great novelists. I used to hear their names from the lips of my teachers and from friends and seniors. Bookstores stacked those books and I relished reading them. But now, for the last seven-eight years when I visit bookstores I do not find those titles as easily as I found them earlier. They are tucked away as classics and stores do not display them upfront. What they display is fiction from India by writers writing in English, some from Australia, Africa, and the Indian sub-continent. Makes me wonder if the good old tradition of solid writing from Britain and America is dead.

I posed the question to Utkal. Utkal measures what he says and is very insightful. According to him we do not have many solid books from Britain and America because most fiction writers have started writing more seriously for film. He felt that films are increasingly becoming the preferred medium of communication around the world. Films can show the world with greater colour and sound and also get over much quicker than books.

He said that in the earlier days writers fulfilled a need in people to know about the world. Books were written to take people to unknown parts of the world. In those days books showed the habits and cultures of other races, other places. Now we get all of that on National Geographic. That is why books have to be more about mental spaces than physical spaces. Books need to delve in the mind of the characters.

That made sense to me. To write about mental spaces…

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