The Hindu Lit for Life 2018

Stories that keep us from forgetting

Of human nature (Left to right): Vaishna Roy with John Boyne and Sebastian Faulks   | Photo Credit: S. Narayana Swamy

War, says Irish novelist John Boyne, is always going to be written about. It is fertile territory for a novelist because “we see so much of human nature in conflict.” The author of the 2006 Holocaust novel, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Boyne was part of Narratives of War, a session at The Hindu Lit for Life 2018, that also featured the English writer, Sebastian Faulks, and was moderated by Vaishna Roy, Editor, The Hindu's Sunday Magazine and Literary Review.

Anecdotes about death, hope, love, friendship and more segued into the discussion that revolved around Roy’s question, “What do war narratives do?” Faulks, who grew up with both the world wars in his blood, said, “My grandfather had fought in World War I, my father in World War II, and I equally expected to fight in the third,” adding that his fourth novel Birdsong was, “the experience of war in a very dramatic, unironic, forlorn way.”

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas tells the story of a young boy, Bruno, son of a Commandant in the German army, who is posted at Out-With (Auschwitz), where he befriends Shmuel, a Jewish boy who is incarcerated here. “It is more a book about friendship than war,” said Boyne.

At their core however, both books are about collective memory. And about how stories exist so that we never forget. Recalling the late Jewish writer and holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, Boyne said. “Elie Wiesel, who I respect very much, said if you weren’t there don’t write about it. But his is the last generation that will be able to meet the survivors of the Holocaust — they are getting quite old. And once they are no longer here, do we just stop writing about them?”

Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 11, 2021 5:57:46 AM |

In This Package
The Hindu Lit For Life 2018 that saw brilliant speakers and engaged audiences
What does it mean to be a woman in India?
The insiduous culture of differentiation in India
Sagarika Ghose and Vaasanthi talk about writing on Indira Gandhi and J. Jayalalithaa respectively
Retirement isn’t an option for author Shobhaa De whose latest book is on being 70
Forging a new, interesting language through art
The function of theatre
There’s more to Hema Malini than just acting
The function of the poet
Dissent and street power: A discussion on on the modern-day attacks on the freedom to dissent in India
A sacred river where superbugs swim: Little has been achieved despite the amount of money and time allocated to the Ganga clean-up project
You are reading
Stories that keep us from forgetting
In a time of conflict, children have every right to know dark truths
‘I will not say sorry for my writing’: Taslima Nasreen spoke about freedom of expression
Jignesh Mevani on how to crack an election
The problem of corruption in India
How democratic a space is the Internet in the age of online trolls?
Forces that reshape India
Humanising terrorists
How is history changing?
‘The truth behind the charges has to be established’
When a brigand and terrorist were killed
How can novelty be restored to the novel?
Pranay Lal, author of Indica, says every stone has a story to tell
Cricket, by and large, is a level playing field today
Late Tamil writer Ashokamitran came back to life in Prasanna Ramaswamy’s documentary
Next Story