01 February 2012

Viva Voce by Gouri Dange

An Every Friday Novel
Gouri Dange’s new novel, Viva Voce is being published simultaneously on The Friday Novel

and black-and-white fountain in weekly installments.
Vibhavari Pradhan is approaching her 61st birthday. Listen, as this outspoken woman speaks about the events of her life over the period of about a year. Says Gouri Dange: "This is an Every Friday novel! The story is set in contemporary urban India, Nepal and parts of Scotland. It is peopled by Viva (61), Dhruv (13), Moni (40), Aidan (54), Shirish (42), Shruti (36), Farhan (49), Imanto (6), several street dogs, and some other beings. How they are related to each other will emerge as the story unfolds."
How easy is it to live life on your own terms when you’re 61 years old? Listen to Viva and find out.
Gouri Dange is a well-known writer, columnist and counsellor. Her three published books are
3 Zakia Mansion, The Counsel of Strangers, and ABCs of Parenting.
Many well-known authors have published in installments: all Charles Dickens’ novels were published serially – and Dickens created the episodes as they were being serialized. Explains Gouri, “The weekly installments put a different (and positive) pressure on me – and it is a bit of a trapeze act – you can’t go back and modify anything…you are compelled to tell the story in a way that you haven’t before.”
The first online novel was Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall Smith; he wrote a chapter a day starting from 15 September 2008. This was published daily in The Telegraph, UK, until the final installment of what was the third novel appeared on 17 December 2010.
But why would the successful and much-read Gouri Dange want to give away her wonderful new novel free to internet readers?
She explains: “It’s not the garboesque 'i vhant to be alone' so much as 'i vhant to just write this'!”
To understand why Gouri has gone to this extent to do away with publishers, distributors, bookstores and accountants, here’s something she wrote for Open magazine about her tryst with the tedium and monstrous hierarchies of that world, and her darkly funny word-picture on how to behave at a book launch that touched many a raw nerve. “This is an attempt to sidestep the elaborate and absurd dance that is publishing, and pare it all down to just writer and reader, sentences and stories,” she clarifies.
black-and-white fountain salutes Gouri Dange’s initiative at making Indian publishing a more democratic institution and expects many readers to log on to The Friday Novel or black-and-white fountain and subscribe to weekly email or reader updates of Viva Voce.