What we're reading

Karen, Rita, Ku and Prem occasionally muse on books they have just read

Monday, January 01, 2007

Transmission

In Transmission, Hari Kunzru plaits together an unlikely threesome as he explores some aspects of globalisation: the computer industry, an entrepreneurship bubble and Bollywood. An Innocent Abroad, Arjun (BadmAsh) fumbles his way across borders, both real and metaphorical, as he grows up through the novel. Guy is pure satire - self-deluded at work and inept at relationships (his last-ditch attempt at retrieving Gaby, his girlfriend, is a hugely expensive necklace, bearing his note ‘Impressed? G.’) – he reminded me very much of the character Adam in Carol Shield’s Box Garden. The women are less clearly depicted. Leela, the Bollywood starlet, is probably the weakest – seeming elusive and petulant. Her mother Faiza briefly appears as an archetypal controlling Indian mother, while Gabriela, Guy’s girlfriend, epitomizes the post-modern at its most aimless.

I loved the description – its beautifully written, and captures the Indian element well, but felt the plot fumbled, especially towards the end. The loose ends of the narrative tangle themselves into a knot which Kunzru unravels by the simple expedient of cutting them off.

Read more of Kunzru at his own website with some of his shorter writing - articles and fiction.

Lots of reviews to check out, but one comment that I liked was "Transmission seems to us an ideal example of what popular literature could or should be: accessible, entertaining, and a bit of food for thought. It's mainly froth, but of the solid, satisfying sort, and good fun."