Trump and Putin are caricatures from 19th century Russian literature

by Rashmee

Posted on July 27, 2020


  Nina L. Khrushcheva says Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are literary caricatures and just as absurd as a multitude of characters famous from American and Russian political satire. She should know. Not only is Ms Khrushcheva a PhD in Comparative Literature, she is the granddaughter of former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. Anyway, she offers a … Continue reading “Trump and Putin are caricatures from 19th century Russian literature”

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Oman’s story shows Arab writers are finding their voice

by Rashmee

Posted on June 2, 2019 / The Arab Weekly


The way Harthi tells the story, Oman comes sharply into focus as a distinctive place and its people acquire a distinct personality. How much does the world really know about Oman and what does it know about Arabs? Little or nothing about Oman. Of Arabs, it is mostly based on stories told about them by … Continue reading “Oman’s story shows Arab writers are finding their voice”

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These short stories make true the saying ‘Cairo writes, Beirut prints, Khartoum reads’

by Rashmee

Posted on August 9, 2016


I’m reading ‘The Book of Khartoum‘, which is apparently the first major collection of stories on the Sudanese capital to be translated into English, and this is how it starts: With a story titled ‘The Tank’. With the writer Ahmed Al Malik describing – sardonically, searingly – how a Sudanese householder might conceivably buy a … Continue reading “These short stories make true the saying ‘Cairo writes, Beirut prints, Khartoum reads’”

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American writer George Saunders on Trump & what he calls ‘Trumpmunity’

by Rashmee

Posted on July 13, 2016


George Saunders is one of my favourite short story writers, which is why it’s a treat to have him write, in real time, on a contemporary issue of global importance. The rise of Donald Trump. The possibility that Mr Trump becomes US president. What the Trump phenomenon – its occasional vulgarity, violence and vicious whingeing … Continue reading “American writer George Saunders on Trump & what he calls ‘Trumpmunity’”

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150 years of Alice in Wonderland: nursery-surreal, elixirs, lobster quadrilles

by Rashmee

Posted on November 25, 2015


Tomorrow, November 26 is the 150th anniversary of the publication of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, the nursery-surreal that Charles Ludwidge Dodgson (or Lewis Carroll) wrote in three months flat, complete with all those anthropomorphic characters and logical puzzles. The celebrations are extensive and well placed to mine the event’s commercial potential. There are plays, films, … Continue reading “150 years of Alice in Wonderland: nursery-surreal, elixirs, lobster quadrilles”

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Let me put it to you straight and on the nose: does subtlety in art suck?

by Rashmee

Posted on November 9, 2015


I remembered Aleksander Hemon’s plea for unsubtle adjectives while reading Forrest Wickman’s swipe at subtlety (it sucks, he wrote in Slate magazine). Mr Hemon, it may be recalled, taught himself writer-ly English while stranded in America by the Bosnian war. He is considered the master of the unusual coinage, a writer who deliberately disdains minimalism, … Continue reading “Let me put it to you straight and on the nose: does subtlety in art suck?”

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Freeman’s Arrival is about that electrifying moment we reach somewhere

by Rashmee

Posted on November 4, 2015


I just ordered a copy of Freeman’s Arrival, a new themed collection of stories that is said to be like a new kind of Granta. But not. My reason, I have to confess, was hearing Aleksander Hemon talk about the story he contributed to the anthology. Having recently read and thrilled to Mr Hemon’s ‘Islands’ (excerpt … Continue reading “Freeman’s Arrival is about that electrifying moment we reach somewhere”

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Reading heaven? France pioneers vending machines that dispense short stories

by Rashmee

Posted on October 18, 2015


As someone who’s fallen in love with the short story all over again (Alice Munro, Paul Bowles, Steven Millhauser, Kelly Link) I’ve got to hand it to the French. They have a true passion for literature and can be as creative about it as some Americans are with some abominations (mostly to do with reconstituted … Continue reading “Reading heaven? France pioneers vending machines that dispense short stories”

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Alice and that wonderland: 150 years of rabbit holes & reality in reverse

by Rashmee

Posted on August 7, 2015


It’s been 150 glorious years of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and everyone still can’t seem to get enough of the story. Till the end of August, London has a fascinating interactive theatre event below Waterloo Station called Alice’s Adventures Underground. Perhaps there will be an app next. I well remember my copy. It was a small (about … Continue reading “Alice and that wonderland: 150 years of rabbit holes & reality in reverse”

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What’s wrong with Amazon’s rule that writers be paid by readability?

by Rashmee

Posted on June 30, 2015


Why is everyone bemoaning the fact that writers will have to do a better job and be more readable if they want to get paid properly, according to Amazon’s new rules? The rules, which are set to come into force tomorrow, will determine royalties for self-published Kindle books according to the number of pages read … Continue reading “What’s wrong with Amazon’s rule that writers be paid by readability?”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, US and UK