Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Author in Focus: Jayanta Ray- Writer of Withered Leaves

What’s the title of your book and it’s genre? Tell us briefly about it. ( you can include links to your site and book sales page ) – 
Withered Leaves by  Jayanta Ray (ISBN: 978-93-81115-34-3); 
Based on multicultural experience set in a significant point in modern history, the novel starts with a scene in Heidelberg, in the then West Germany. Siddhartha, or Sid, an exchange student from India studying at the university, explores the progress made by the post-WW II German society, often contrasting the conditions back home. With his youthful energy and curiosity, Sid becomes a part of the Schulz family he stays with. Frau Schulz, her introvert husband Kurt, perhaps suffering from a sense of guilt about being part of Hitler’s Wehrmacht during WW II, and their friendly teenaged son bond with Sid in more ways than one, thus providing him with insights into contemporary German mind. The city and the charming Neckar that lazily flows past it come alive as he roams around with Barbara, his new-found friend and exchanges his experience with his ex-girlfriend back home. The Berlin Wall stands as a reminder of the nation divided and a symbol of stifled human aspirations. Sid returns to his homeland — sombre and uncertain — shackled by Emergency. Using a variety of events and characters, the book narrates the time and life in a small town in the erstwhile West Germany in vivid details.

2.                   Any similar titles from other authors published recently? Which authors would you think you directly compare to? Old or new.  – None, to my knowledge!

3.                   Tell us in about 100 words about your literary influences?  – My foray into literary writing started with my first novel ‘A Town by the River’ ( The book dwelt at length on the then tumultuous political situation of 70s in West Bengal.  Its strength lay in descriptive details of the milieu, the people and more importantly, the charming river. To the best of my knowledge, I can’t think of a direct comparison with any authors, living or dead. Among the recent literary authors, I admire Amitav Ghosh & Khaled Hosseini.

4.                   Why do you write in the genre you currently write? – Because that’s the genre where I can find empathy with the subject matter I choose to write.

5.                    What have you learnt so far in your journey from finishing manuscript to becoming a published author? Any lessons for unpublished authors. – My suggestion to up-and-coming young authors would be: Take ‘rejections’ & ‘acceptance’ in your stride without compromising on the research that would provide the inner strength of your work. No ‘fly-by-night’ operation!

6.                   Tell us about your next project? – It hasn’t yet gone beyond the drawing board, but it would be a study of crossover culture and its underlying nuances.  

About the Author

Jayanta Ray, a foreign-language translator by profession, holds a graduation degree in science, besides a post-graduation in the German language and a postgraduate diploma in journalism. He has been a recipient of the DAAD scholarship for studies at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. He has regularly contributed articles on the Indian translation scene to Professional Translator and Interpreter, London. He has been enlisted in the International Who’s Who in Translation and Terminology, published by Praetorius, UK, 1996. For his contribution to the promotion of scientific-technical translation in India, he was awarded the Scroll of Honour by the Indian Scientific Translators Association in 2005. He has a number of publications in professional journals (both national and international) including two German<>English technical dictionaries published by Elsevier Science Publishers, Amsterdam.

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