Thursday, February 10, 2011

Kenneth Slawenski

Kenneth Slawenski is the creator of, a website founded in 2004 and recommended by the New York Times.

His new book is J. D. Salinger: A Life. Among the early praise for the book, from The Sunday Times (UK):
A welcome trove of information. Partly through exhaustive biographical research (especially into the early years) and partly through porings over almost unknown, uncollected stories, Slawenski enthrallingly illuminates what turned Salinger into an extraordinary literary phenomenon.
Recently I asked Slawenski what he was reading. His reply:
The Golden Gandhi Statue from America by Subimal Misra

A crazy old beggar living in a tree rescues a near-dead young woman. Frightened by her disease, her neighbors have exiled her from the village and left her to die. In time, the old man nurtures her back to health – but he demands sex as payment once she is healed. When the villagers discover the girl has been defiled, they kill the crazy old man with “righteous” indignation.

This is one of twelve short stories – parables, really - contained in The Golden Gandhi Statue from America by Subimal Misra. Revered in his homeland, the collection is Misra’s first publication outside of India. His stories are drenched in symbolism and multilevel metaphors. They are often angry, shocking and profane, but always colorful and thought provoking.

The book’s primary messages are clearly geared to Indian society as they repeatedly chastise and challenge the status quo of that region. Yet, I enjoyed reading the book through Western eyes. Misra’s most vital themes are universal. However named or depicted, our gods are all the same. And so are our sins.
Visit the Dead Caulfields website, and read more about J. D. Salinger: A Life at the publisher's website.

--Marshal Zeringue