Been reading Animal’s People by Indra Sinha which has been nominated for a Booker award and was struck by its power & subject matter. The way Indra conjures up the town of Khaufpur and roots the incidents that took place in Bhopal in 1984 as the backdrop for the novel is just amazing and blew me away.
Read some interviews with the author and what struck me was that he said it had taken him some time to find a ‘voice’ for the book – a character that would drive the narrative forward and he found it in the shape of the novels main protaganist – Animal, a lad who had been disabled in the chemical accidents that the ‘Kampani’ from ‘Amrika’ had unleashed and now who walks on all fours. Animal drives the story on and is just a crazy & wonderful creation.
Me? Been researching away and writing loads more of the back story to flesh out the story of the four main characters. Looking at old pictures and maps, reading recollections of the first Asian & Caribbean immigrants who came in the 50’s and 60’s and finding out about life in the slums around Newlands. I think you’ll maybe need to know Wycombe for some of the stuff to resonate but I think I’m capturing that small town vibe that the place has in common with many others.