The Word

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Himani DalmiaNovelist

A book that means a lot to you?
Difficult Daughters by Manju Kapur. The story of a woman’s and a nation’s coming-of-age against the backdrop of partitions — political and personal — was truly inspiring to me as a novelist.

Your favourite genre?
Nineteenth century realist fiction and gothic novels.

Your favourite character?
Jane Austen’s Emma, even though her creator felt no one but she would ever like this character. The most independent and supercilious of all Austen heroines, Emma reminds me a little of myself!

How many books do you own?
More than I’m able to read. I buy them faster than I can read them.

An underrated book?
Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Erudite and exciting, it is far superior to Harry Potter, in my view.

An overrated book? 
Shantaram
 by Gregory David Roberts. Too long and a little contrived in its attempt to be a thriller.

The book you bought last?
The Immortals by Amit Chaudhuri.

Last book read?
The Lighthouse by PD James. There is nothing quite like a murder mystery to curl up with while the monsoon rains thunder outside.

A book you wish you’d written? 
On Beauty
 by Zadie Smith. It’s deliciously conventional and yet radiantly contemporary. Smith traverses the personal and social spheres with remarkable dexterity. Her ability to stir-up issues of culture, race, family and academia through psychological conflicts within her characters is truly enviable.

ISHA MANCHANDA

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