A novel beyond text

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Parismita Singh
Parismita Singh

Parismita Singh’s “The Hotel at the End of the World” brings alive the genre of graphic novel

Four of India’s finest comic book artists shared the stage recently at The British Council for the release of Parismita Singh’s debut book, “The Hotel at the End of the World.” An audio-visual presentation and comments on the graphic novel by Sarnath Banerjee and Orijit Sen followed the release by Les Dangerfield, deputy director of The British Council. The last and the most compelling part of the evening featured Parismita in conversation with Vishwajyoti Ghosh.

Diya Karhazra, editor of “The Hotel at the End of the World,” introduced the plot and the characters of the novel, “Call it what you will, comic book or graphic novel.” In her opinion, “This is art at its best and one of the finest examples of the art of story-telling. Diverse traditions, various art forms, history and politics come together in this fantastic novel. Parismita weaves her narratives effortlessly and her illustrations are stunning and you’ll find yourself turning the pages to new adventures every time.”

The audio-visual presentation displayed the variety of styles Parismita — the part writer, part artist, part film-maker, brings together.

Picking up the poignant images from the book,Banerjee and Sen commended the author for the gripping narrative which is enhanced by the innovative presentation. Banerjee pointed out the way in which the author plays with space and time, “spreading out time through space and space through time.”

An experiment

Vishwajyoti didn’t feel the need to highlight Parismita’s weaknesses as, “knowing her for over a year, one realises, she does enough of that for herself.” Asked how Parismita approached the story, she said, “I took three months off for this ‘experiment’ and it eventually extended to become two and a half years. More than the story, the characters came to me first and I wanted to live with them a while before I got to building a story around them.” Parismita does not have a formal training in drawing. On her choice of the graphic novel, she said , “It took me a really long time to get down to drawing. Honestly, the literature student in me didn’t want to be a comic book writer. But I realised that drawing is something I did. Despite the fact that I didn’t have a trained hand I seemed to make up for it by training my eye. There’s no denying, though, that a lot of it is very sloppy,” she confessed. “Maybe this graphic novel is a kind of preparation for getting down to writing a real novel.”





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