Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Summer Requiem by Vikram Seth, review: 'serene'
Vikram Seth’s new collection of poems is quietly affecting, despite its reliance on past successes, says James Walton
Vikram SethPhoto: Pal Hansen
By James Walton - The Telegraph : 30 Mar 2015
Long before his novel A Suitable Boy conquered the world in the Nineties, Vikram Seth was a highly regarded poet, with his second collection, The Humble Administrator’s Garden, winning a Commonwealth Poetry Prize in 1983. Only three years later did he produce his first novel, The Golden Gate, a 300-page tale of San Francisco life written entirely in sonnets. (Fortunately, it was a lot more fun than it sounds.)
More recently, the news about Seth has been dominated by the non-appearance of A Suitable Girl: a sequel that Penguin had planned to publish on the 20th anniversary of A Suitable Boy in 2013, but that’s now promised for 2016 from Weidenfeld & Nicolson after Seth reportedly had to return his million-pound Penguin advance.
His first new volume of poetry for more than 20 years provides the odd clue to why the novel has been so delayed (Weidenfeld fiction editors, look away now): “I find I simply can’t get out of bed./ I shiver and procrastinate and stare./ I’ll press the reset button in my head.// I hate my work but I am in the red.” Even so, the most striking aspect of Summer Requiem is how little Seth’s poetry has changed over the decades More