>>Paulo Coelho (on MALAYALAM literary scene??)
Most of the writers there are more concerned with style than content; they strive to be original, but succeed only in being dull. They are locked in their own little world, and I learn an interesting French expression: renvoyer l'ascenseur, meaning literally 'to send the lift back up', but used metaphorically to mean 'to return a favour.' In practice, this means that I say nice things about your book, you say nice things about mine, and thus we create a whole new cultural life, a revolution, an apparently new philosophy.
'They send the lift up', and at first, such writers have some success: people don't want to run the risk of openly criticising something they don't understand, but they soon realise they are being conned and stop believing what the critics say.
(from Coelho's new novel, THE ZAHIR)
>>VC Sreejan (on MALAYALAM writing)
New books are coming out, new writings appear. Our literature thrives.
I, being a critic, am really glad in these positive developments. For, new writing is necessary for the Critics to survive. As we are all aware, criticism is a derivative art.
There are people who say that the real life experiences are not indispensable for creative works. On the other hand, some people believe that such experiences are absolutely essential for the works. Both these arguments are important, but in different ways.
In our changing times, an anxiety prevails as to whether our language would survive, or for that matter, whether our literature would last long . Admittedly, all these confusions remain. Our responsibility is to protect and guard our own language. The new writers should pay their attention to this area.
There are two different types of meanings to the words. The traditional meaning and then the meaning they acquire over the years through constant interactions and communications. As for the dead languages, the possibility for the latter is remote.
In some earlier occasions, I have stated that there are no big names in our language when we make comparisons with the world literature. In a different angle, we can think that
the writers , in general, are trying to bring in the interactions that happen around them to their creative works. When we view things in that way, there will not be different standards in writing like good or bad writing, great or mediocre authors and like that.
In these times of globalisation and liberalisation, what our new writers can attempt is this: they should go through the works of some not so-great workers. They would be able to find some sparks in these works, some novel metaphors left unnoticed by a generation of readers. And the new writers must try to find out if they would be able to create their own works based on these ideas.
(excerpts from a speech, translated by E. SANTHOSHKUMAR)