“I wanted to lay open to the world the underbelly of a city”
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Author Anita Nair is both prolific and diverse. Her work includes poetry, plays, essays, stories for children and, of course, novels. While her best-selling and critically acclaimed Ladies Coupe dealt with the resilient world of relationships and women, she has now moved to the realm of crime and police in Cut Like Wound.
In this interview with Amrita Dutta, the author talks about the difficult switch from literary fiction to noir, why we all have a bit of Inspector Borei Gowda in us and the importance of having a stomach for dissections and post-mortem examinations.
What set you off on a crime novel?
All my novels are born from a scene that I see in my mind. A scene occurred to me while I was in Rome in May 2010. Once I wrote the first scene I knew that it couldn't be literary fiction of the sort I had written until then. And then another image swam into my mind, that of Inspector Borei Gowda. And that this book would be literary noir and would trawl the underbelly of the city and have a complex police inspector as its hero.
Genre fiction is considered less cerebral and less serious than literary fiction. Would you agree?
I am not going to allow Cut Like Wound to be pigeon-holed as a pure genre novel. It is literary noir. It has all the stylistic elements of the literary novel. On the other hand, it is governed by the hallmark of noir writing. Unlike The Better Man, Ladies Coupe, Mistress or Lessons in Forgetting, it is told in a linear fashion. It is also a novel that explores the lives of people but in an unambiguous manner. Perhaps, the most essential difference is that it offers social commentary unlike just another genre novel.
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