First and second

17 Jun

I read that Arvind Adiga has published his second novel “Last man in Tower” and I checked the product description, and in a way it seemed to have parallels with his first book. I haven’t read the new book but like White Tiger which was about class differences, this one deals with economic disparity.

Then I tried to think how many authors are there in the modern times who actually write about different stuff. And I am talking about famous authors.

Before the commercialized world took control of our lives, we had writers like Oscar Wilde who wrote philosophical to satirical to children stories with equal ease, or Steinbeck or Orwell or Twain or Graham Greene writers who had diversity in their writing (this is a general observations and not a rule).

But in recent times, if you look at the success stories you find that writers get tagged or themselves confine within certain themes (though I am waiting to see what Ms. Rowling will do next. Wonder if she can write a single stand alone novel or will she be tempted to repeat the series formula).

There are two things about writers that I believe are always true-

1. If you really want to read any authors honest voice, you should read their first book. Invariably it also would be their best work, unless second assumption comes into play.

2. If you want to know how courageous an author is read the second book after the first successful book, for that will tell you is he just extending the first book or writing a new first book.

I as a rule don’t read the author again, if I find the second book on a theme similar to the first one, that shows nothing but paucity of ideas. It might be better crafted, better written, better said but I have read the better version already. Rewording doesn’t make it a new idea.

And I would rather spend my time on a new idea rather than wasting it on an already read story.

Books are not words. Books are ideas, imagination, fantasies, dreams.


5 Responses to “First and second”

  1. Sugarikena June 17, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    Adiga’s second book is ‘Between the Assasinations’ guess u missed to read that :), is it because u prefer to read the most talked about books?

  2. fictitioustruth June 17, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    Between the assassinations actually is a book he wrote before White Tiger, it got published later.

  3. fictitioustruth June 17, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    And secondly I clearly said after the first successful book

  4. John Doe June 20, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    In that case we would end up negating the whole body of work of many writers. Jane Austen for instance, or for that matter Sarat Chandra – all his books were autobiographical and hence variations on the same plot.

  5. fictitioustruth June 21, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    @John Doe, I have not read Sarat Chandra but if he wrote about a single theme then I stick to my point. But life is made of many sub parts, even if the book is autobiographical it can delve in various emotions, love, hate, fears, responsibility and each is a different theme.

    Even writing about a single theme can make you great, take Kurt Vonnegut, who wrote on anti-war theme in practically all his books but there were many prespectives to it, during, after, victor, loser, victim and added dimensions to the same theme.

    My issue is with many authors who create a single filter and keep rewording the same theme.

    There is a distinction between my opinion and your comment.

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