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Sunday, 31 August 2008

Malaysian novelist Tash Aw writes for this week's Times Literary Supplement

by Suzan Abrams

The 36-year old Malaysian novelist *Tash Aw, whose debut novel in 2005, The Harmony Silk Factory earned him a longlisted nomination for the Man Booker Prize and which later garnered him a win for the Whitbread Prize for First Book, writes for this week's Times Literary Supplement in London (August 22 & 29, 2008 issue).

In the one and a half page spread, Aw who lives in England, earnestly investigates the strong Asian influences of the Ramayana: Love and valour in India's Great Epic based on a series of colourful pictures in an exhibition of paintings showing at the Pearson Gallery, Great Britain. Malaysia grabbed some of the limelight for its generous attention to shadow theatre and puppetry throughout the ages, based on the characters of the Ramayana; often engulfed in volatile and adventurous turmoils. This making up for deep philosophical sacrements held to be divine. Aw writes in praise and awe of the lavish paintings before him and applauds their magnificent artistry. He also talks with some depth, of Rajput paintings.

*Tash Aw's second novel called Map of the Invisible World is set in the 60s in Malaysia and Indonesia. It involves two different and unsettling lifestyles and a dutch painter called Karl. The Dutch are solidly reminiscent with Indonesian history. The novel is due for release next April.

Suggested further reading: The British historian and writer, William Dalrymple's commentary in the Guardian last week on the British Library's Ramayana Miniatures.

Credit: Picture courtesy of Sutharsan.com

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