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Ian Daffern spent the Bloomsday holiday in Dublin, Ireland, soaking up the oddness. He reports back on the festivity with a diary and pictures.
Few novels (and even fewer by South Asian American writers) have the ability to polarize readers into competing, sulky, defensive camps as The Namesake has done. While this conflict hasnít made the $16.80-plus-shipping decision any easier for us, itís surely better to have real discussion in place of the usual highhanded Kakutani review and subsequent murmurs of assent. I thought I would solicit the opinions of other South Asian women for you, some who greeted The Namesake
with skepticism, and others who cried at every page.
Me, on the other hand, I don't think it's cocky or arrogant to think, every time I sit down in front of the computer, that I am producing the Best Comic Ever Made By Human Hands. All Other Comics Pale Before My Brilliance.
The victims are not totally innocent from the victimology point of view, they are extremely vulnerable. That was the relationship I found most interesting. Unlike most investigators, I had great empathy for the victims because I am a writer myself. I know the sting of rejection. I know what it means and how devastating it is to have a manuscript rejected -- how disheartening it is for these people. Their life only has meaning if they are writers. If you steal that dream, in a way, these people are being destroyed.
What tends to happen is, of course, if you're from the Midwest and you become a writer, you become a Midwest writer, and that feels to me that there's a mild pejorative in it, or a limitation. You know, I think of Faulkner, I think of a writer, I don't think of him as a southern writer. It would be silly to limit it that way. It's funny because writers who do a lot of their work set in New York, say, aren't called New York writers. They're just writers.