Saturday, September 03, 2005

Reading and wondering

The time for political novels has past, but Pamuk handles it well. Snow starts with a poet coming back to Kars, a remote town in Turkey. The official line is that he's here to find out about a line of suicides amongst the head scarf girls. But once there, Ka the poet, questions whether that is the real purpose he came. What is it about the snow as it cuts off the small town from the rest of the world, as it falls like a blanket on the city reshaping everything insight, covering up the present, blocking out the future, until the past is the only thing left? And the voice is superb, as it gravitates towards the centre of the book until it reaches a point where it is lost in bewilderment, just like our poet.
This is the kind of book that explores the historical past, the present and the future through the tools of fiction. As the line on the jacket says, "Pamuk is narrating his country into being". Can there be a case for 'fictional truth' just as there is for the Poetic truth?
Poetics...which reminds me, Juan Elia is gaining praise post-humously. Isn't that the way of life (or rather, the way of life after death) for Urdu poets? Left to themselves while alive, they only gain recognition once they are gone. What notions prevent us from taking an Urdu poet seriously while he's alive, that suddenly vanish when he passes away?
Anyway, I am going through 'Shayad', an amazing collection, but what caught my attention isn't the book, as much as its introduction written by the poet himself. Elia makes a few observations in his 'Muqaddama' that are worth noting down. I'd like to translate the whole thing, once I get the next few days of my chest.