I had exchanged a few mails with Sonya about the Juhu Book club. I was eager to meet other book lovers & thought that this was a good opportunity.
She told me, they were reading Altaf Tyrewala's, "No God in Sight"
Time Out Readers would be familiar with his name. He has previously written about his uncle's bookstore & the Chetan Bhagath phenomenon.
Since this was my first Meeting with the club, I wasn't sure what to expect. Intellectual high-brows, Society chatterati, bored housewives, young preppy kids... But the chance of meeting the author was not one to be easily ignored.
And I am so glad that I went. The group is quite informal and all share a love of books. Quite a few are writers too, struggling to get their writings in print or established journalists. It was a good group & I knew that this was one Book Club, I would love to be a member of. Provided they didnt make me read "Roots" or "Papillon". These are 2 books I've started reading over 20 times & given up each time, sometimes even as far as 300 pages down the line.
It was good to be able to interact with Altaf himself. He immediately endeared himself to me when he recognised my name as one of the finalists of the Caferati Flash Fiction Contest He furthered it when he said that as one of the judges, he had fought hard for my story A mild mannered gentleman he was actually apologising when anyone said that there was something they couldn't agree with him on.
A lot of the members, felt the book was depressing especially since it mirrored harsh realities that take place in front of us, just that we do our best to turn our eyes away. "No God in Sight" drags your sight right back.
Altaf said that the journey to publishing wasn't as hard as it sometimes is because "The abortionists" voice had been printed in the newspaper early on & interest was evinced by the necessary powers that be. He also said that very often he reached dead ends with the tale and had to go back and start all over again.
Very often when we read a book, we don't realise how much the author has to struggle to get his words out right & to get printed & picked up off the bookshelves.
We ended by deciding that the next months book would be Philip Pullman. The first or the entire Darkman Trilogy.
Review in The Hindu
Review By Sonya
Chandrahas Chowdhury's Interview with Altaf Tyrewala
My take : It was a very different style of writing & that itself was an instant draw. The plot seems to underline helplessness in everyone's life when there truly seems to be No God in Sight. Its not a dark view of life, but a realistic one.