The annual ‘Muse India-Satish Verma Young Writer Award’ for 2016 goes to three writers, a poet and two novelists. Muse India is a reputed literary ejournal of 12 years standing with membership from over 50 countries.
It is dedicated to Indian literature either originally in English or by way of translation from regional languages. Instituted in 2011, the Muse India Young Writer award was given away for 2011 and 2012.
From 2015 with the sponsorship received from Satish Verma, an Ajmer based poet and social worker who runs a holistic therapies centre (SewaMandir), the award has been renamed. The award is aimed at recognising and rewarding outstanding literary talent among writersup to 35 years of age.
While the poetry prize goes to Goirick Brahmachari (New Delhi) for his work ‘For the Love of Pork’ (Les Editions du Zaporogue, Denmark); the fiction prize goes to two joint winners – Karan Mahajan (Delhi) for his novel ‘The Association of Small Bombs’ (HarperCollins); and Radhika Maira Tabrez (Rae Bareilly) for her novel ‘In the Light of Darkness’ (Readomania). The three winners will receive Rs 10,000 each. Read more
Source: The Hans India
by Rabeea Saleem
The Association of Small Bombs’ by Karan Mahajan
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Viking (March 22, 2016)
“The Khuranas, in the past few years, had started taking a morbid interest in blasts in all parts of the country, especially Delhi – they were excited by these bombings in a way that only victims of esoteric, infrequent tragedies are motivated by horrors.”
Karan Mahajan’s latest book begins with a 1996 bombing in Delhi, India at a crowded marketplace, Lajpat Nagar. In the violence-riddled world of South Asia, the significance of a calamity is only as big as its magnitude. Every tragedy is relative to its body count and so in the grander scheme of things, this bombing is referred to as “a bomb of small consequences”. It still kills hundreds but because of the low profile site, it doesn’t get as much traction from media as say, the Boston bombing, which, because of its location alone supersedes dozens of small bombs that go off in third world countries at a frighteningly high frequency.
This bombing results in the death of Tushar and Nakul, the only children of the Khuranas. They had gone with their best friend, Mansoor, who is significantly a Muslim, to collect an old television from the repair shop. This detail is something which later the Khuranas are compelled to lie about to maintain their middle-class status because admitting this act of scrimping to their upper caste friends would indulge their sympathies in a way they didn’t want. Mahajan homes in on how important it is to maintain the ego-driven financial status in middle-class society, even when faced with such a potent grief.
THE ASSOCIATION OF SMALL BOMBS
By Karan Mahajan
276 pp. Viking. $26.
Allow me to skip the prelude to judgment that usually begins a book review, and just get right to it: Karan Mahajan’s second novel, “The Association of Small Bombs,” is wonderful. It is smart, devastating, unpredictable and enviably adept in its handling of tragedy and its fallout. If you enjoy novels that happily disrupt traditional narratives — about grief, death, violence, politics — I suggest you go out and buy this one. Post haste.