The Theme: Portable Monuments, Wandering Streets
The transferability of objects, images, landscapes and memories shapes much of our lived experiences in the presents that we inhabit. Monuments and streets–early symbols of permanence, constancy, and rootedness–have now taken on dimensions of flux and mutation. They journey with us and change with our changes. Our visual and verbal stories simultaneously monumentalise and shatter them. Our art(ifice) takes them away from where-they-were to where-they-are-now. Worlds shape shift in a virtuality of post-processing and persistent reinvention.
The reincarnated Captain Cook in Margaret Atwood’s poem dreams of ‘a land cleaned of geographies’. The ungendered protagonist–in order to effectively claim the risk of rediscovery–desires an unmapped world: a world that is not bound within the fixities of time, space, body, and self. However, one can never be sure if this is possible. To figure out the tropes of this anxiety, The Four Quarters Magazine will try to trace the questions of mapping and un-mapping, location and its lack, direction vs. destruction, variable spatiality, shifting things and events, altering structures, constructs of architecture, and flâneuring selves in its forthcoming issue: Portable Monuments, Wandering Streets.
The Submission Guidelines
We invite submissions of prose, poetry and artwork for this issue of The Four Quarters Magazine. Book reviews and translations are also welcome. Only emailed submissions are welcome. All submissions must be sent as word documents attached to the email. If it is artwork that you are sending us, then please do take care to attach a covering word file with details about the submission. For other details about submissions, please take a look at our website: www.tfqmagazine.org
The deadline for submissions is 3rd June 2013. The guest editor for this issue is Nitoo Das. General editors for the magazine are Arjun Chaudhuri, Arjun Rajendran and Samyak Ghosh.
First things first. If you are interested in submitting you have to be quick. There are three themed issues of Spark – June, July and August 2013 – to submit to. The deadline is the same for all three, and close - 20th May 2013!
Spark is looking for fiction, non-fiction, poetry, art and photography. See their complete guidelines
Spark is an online and print-on-demand literary magazine edited by Anupama Krishnakumar and Vani Viswanathan. The link to their home page is here. Now, a bit about the themes issues, and I am quoting Spark word for word here:
Those of you who follow my blog know that writing colleague and friend Nabina Das had written a post in her blog and tagged me: http://nabinadas13.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/my-mothers-roses-and-a-short-story-book-blog-runner-with-five-tagged-writers/
A couple of weeks back I did the same here in my blog:
In my post, I had given my tagged writer friends an option of posting their interviews on my blog. Rajat Chaudhuri was one of the writers I’d tagged. But before you read his interview, here’s a bit about Rajat -
Rajat Chaudhuri used to be a consumer rights activist, an economic and political affairs officer, and a climate change advocate at the United Nations, NYC. Then, unsurprisingly, he became a full-time writer. His short stories have since then been published in literary journals like Eclectica, Underground Voices, L’Allure des Mots and elsewhere. He is a past fellow of the Sangam House International Writers’ Residency. Hotel Calcutta is his second book.
Chaudhuri’s first book was Amber Dusk, a novel set in Calcutta. It is a work redolent of (and here I am quoting the Indialog, Amber Dusk’s publisher) “ Calcutta’s streets, resonating with the seductive tunes of Parisian nights. Robot oracles, the enigmatic photographer Valence Jourdain, a shadowy Blue Princess, Indian tribesmen and the mystical Lake Malaren colour this fascinating narrative, creating an edgy reality… presenting a rich tapestry of ideas that weave together Calcutta and Paris and the lives and passions of unforgettable individuals…a delicately crafted story about love, loathing and the quest for peace in a time of intolerance.” Amber Dusk was a critically acclaimed debut.
His second book, Hotel Calcutta, is a fascinating series of narratives encapsulated within the framework of a hotel that has come under the scanner of land sharks, and can only be saved by a wall of stories. The guests, hotel employees and the owner, rise to the challenge, and what ensues is a feast for the reader. Published by Neogi Books, Hotel Calcutta is available from Flipkart and all major book stores.
Rajat Answers The Ten Blog Runner Questions
Q1: What is your working title of your book?
Ans: There are two books that are near ready. Here I will talk about one of these as there might be some plot changes in the other. The working title for this book, at this point, is Paint me like the Dead. It keeps changing.
Q2: Where did the idea come from for the book?
Ans: The idea, as usually happens with many authors, came from an image. Perhaps it appeared to me in a dream or it could be something seen and long forgotten? It was this vision of a beautiful woman with a mysterious smile on her face. She was dead, floating on the calm waters of the Ganges, the early morning sun touching her forehead.
Q3 What genre does your book fall under?
Ans: Literary crime fiction.
Q4 Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Ans: I don’t fancy movie renditions (and I am sure they don’t fancy my books) so can’t think of actors. Movies might be good for publicity but the fact that they almost always screw up the story, in the interest of the medium or otherwise, does not appeal to me in any way.
Q5 What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Ans: The synopsis is not well-formed as I am not done with the writing/editing yet but it could be something like: A bungling private eye investigates a death embracing, anti-life cult in the Himalayas but will he be able to save his own?
Q6 Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Ans: I will submit the book through my literary agent – Urmila Dasgupta of Purple Folio. She successfully sold my second novel Hotel Calcutta.
Q7 How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Ans: About a year and a half.
Q8 What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Ans: The detective in my story (he first appears in my book Hotel Calcutta) is closest to hard-drinking, smooth-talking gum shoes of the hard-boiled genre but he is also philosophical and suffers secretly. He is a bit mad, he delves in the occult. He is more often than not presented with absurd cases. I won’t like to name the books or the authors in response to this question, because I wouldn’t be able to do this without sounding pretentious or competitive! There are a handful of authors who have written books like this.
Q9 Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Ans: First there was this image, or the vision if you like, that I mentioned before. Then there were these cultural references around L’Inconnue de la Seine (The Unknown Woman of the Seine). There was this unknown woman whose body was fished out of the Seine and whose death mask became very popular (in the early twentieth century) as an outré art object mainly because of the enigmatic smile on her face. She keeps reappearing in literature. For example Aragon, invoked her in Aurélien. The lines that drew me to her are from Rilke’s novel –
“The caster I visit every day has two masks hanging next to his door. The face of the young one who drowned, which someone copied in the morgue because it was beautiful, because it was still smiling, because its smile was so deceptive – as though it knew.”
(The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge)
I have used those lines as an epigraph for this book. And of course death (and the absurdity of existence) as a theme, has always fascinated me.
Along with the Inconnue I had also developed an interest in the workings of suicide cults, most of all Jim Jones Peoples Temple. This obviously, because of my fascination with death as an important and interesting problem. From there, sometimes, I go on to write stories about the peculiar problems of someone who will be around for ever (read Hotel Calcutta) like Aswathama, like Comte de Saint Germain or I write about suicide cults, as in this book. From one extreme to the other.
So the image of the dead woman in the river, the Inconnue and my interest in suicide cults all come together in this book.
Q10 What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Ans: Those who like a good mystery, especially one leaning towards noir, will also enjoy this book. Finally I must say that, though it seems I have almost given away the plot, I haven’t said anything at all.
My story Master is in Per Contra Issue 27.
I’m chuffed to be included again.
This is my second story in Per Contra. The first one, “The Amma Who Took French Leave” found mention in a site I had not heard of before. It’s called The Hawthorn Citation. They shortlisted my story in 2011 . Well, it is very nice to be noticed, appreciated. Incidentally, they picked quite a few stories from Per Contra. More kudos to Miriam Kotzin, Per Contra’s wonderful editor. You can visit her homepage here: http://miriamnkotzin.tripod.com/
Master is also part of my book of short stories – The Vanishing Man and Other Imperfect Men – soon to be published by Lifi Publications, India. The novel Culling Mynahs and Crows is slated to be out this summer.
Hope you like Master
I am guest editing the April issue of The Four Quarters Magazine whose theme is “To Ugliness.” Deadline March 10, 2013.
For my part, I am specifically looking for prose from unsolicited submissions. Poetry is of course welcome, as always. But since the poetry slot tends to fill up faster, and most of my solicited writers have poetry on their minds, I’d like to concentrate more on prose. Fiction and nonfiction alike. Don’t feel deterred however, if you only have poetry. Send it on.
General submission details are crystal clear in the website:
Please read several issues before submitting if you haven’t read The Four Quarters Magazine before. It’s free, so you don’t have any excuse!
Here’s a bit more about the theme:-