Reading @ Sarai: Neon Fish
from 17:00 to 18:30
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These short stories, set in an (un)familiar city where strange things happen, speak to us of our time and of a time to come.
"This is the year 2050. This is the City. Strange things happen here,
along with familiar things. There’s a man who lives
on the N-BAR (the New Bridge Across the River). There’s a feisty,
unspeaking nurse. There’s a pair of lovers, one of them a
painter, the other a pharmacist. There’s a forever irate Inspector
(Crime Branch), and a man who uses a cart to sell a variable
fare, a boy who rides his bicycle the whole day, going round and
round and round the City. There are new, automated Micro/Ford cars
coming in, there are cleaning robots on the streets."
These brilliant, disturbing stories speak to us of our own time as
well as of a time to come, and they do so in a wholly modern,
contemporary accent. Aniket Jaaware's text is a composite of word
and image, narrative complemented by graphic art reminiscent of
Martin Escher's visual puzzles, while the tales tease us into
thinking about urban lives, singularities,obsessions, virtual
realities, and the nature of persons.
Jaaware's City is made up of eccentrics who are also, in the context
of a postmodern urbanity, regulars: recognizably the denizens of the
crowded but alienating space in which we all live our lives. There
are dying lovers, the abused but self-possessed nurse, the vendor and
the bicycle boy, the butterfly collector, the computer hacker, the
police Inspector: each fully in command of their own kinds of
reality, but ironically at odds with other kinds.
The tone of the narration, accessible, easy, contemporary, places us
within this brilliantly imagined cityscape, with its blend of the
familiar and the disorienting. Jaaware's style combines sympathy,
humour and irony, making the act of reading itself an act of
affiliation within a new imaginative order.
About Aniket Jaaware
Aniket Jaaware teaches English at the University of Pune. He is
mainly interested in the literary genres of science fiction, fantasy
and horror, and cinema. His earlier publications include a few poems
and essays and an academic book called Simplifications: An
Introduction to Structuralism and Post-Structuralism.
He also translates between English and Marathi. Neon Fish comes after
a long gap. More than twenty years ago, he had published a novel in
Marathi. His subsequent projects include a fantasy trilogy, which he
hopes to start working on soon.