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The Lounge Chair Interview: 10 Questions with Jaina Sanga

By Aminah Sheikh

J Sanga - photo

Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

I was always fond of reading. When I was young, I read constantly, often finishing a novel in a day. But I never aspired to becoming a writer. In school I was fascinated by chemical equations and lab experiments, but was never encouraged to go into Chemistry. I studied English Literature in college and graduate school and worked as a professor for some years. I write because that is the only thing I know how to do.

Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

Tourist Season (published by Speaking Tiger), a collection of two novellas is my most recent book. Having written a novel, Silk Fish Opium, and a book of short stories, Train to Bombay, I was eager to take on the challenge of the novella. It is a difficult and eccentric form, but offers immense possibilities. I was also attempting to focus on environmental issues, and this theme is embedded in both the novellas.

Describe your writing aesthetic.

I try to write everyday, from about 8:00am until 2:00pm. I use a laptop computer for the manuscript, but outline scenes and take notes longhand on chits of paper. Whenever I get stuck while writing, I pace the floor. I end up pacing a great deal.

Who are your favorite authors?

That’s a difficult question. There are so many authors I admire for different reasons. But to name a few, I’d say John Banville, Ian McEwan, William Trevor, ItaloCalvino, Haruki Murakami, Gustave Flaubert, Magda Szabó, Ruth Ozeiki, Laleh Khadivi, Hillary Mantel, Michael Ondaatje, and J. M. Coetzee.

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Conflict is everything, says Jaina Sanga

By Somudra Banerjee

At the age of 18, author Jaina Sanga left her home in Bombay (Mumbai) to study in the US. Although she stays in Dallas, through her books — a novel, a book of short stories and her latest, a collection of two novellas — she is always reflecting on the country that she loves to visit every year. “India is constantly in my imagination. All the fiction that I’ve written thus far is set in India. In as much as I try to dismiss India from my thoughts, the spirit of the place keeps asserting itself onto the page,” Jaina opens up.

Tourist Season, her latest, is a duet of novellas. The first follows the story of Ramchander, a small-time shopkeeper in a Himalayan hill station. While the second The River is set in Benares, where Girnar, a professor of Hindu mythology from Ahmedabad, ends up accompanying his family for a trip to the ancient land. Read more

Source: The Asian Age