India Uncut

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

A tribute to Mr Shanbhag

Ramachandra Guha has a lovely piece in the Telegraph on TS Shanbhag, the owner of Premier's, the famous bookstore in Bangalore. Guha writes:
... Premier’s has the most cultivated tastes of all the bookshops I know in India. It is only here that works of literature and history outnumber (and outsell) books designed to augment your bank balance or cure your soul. When it comes to fiction, Mr Shanbhag stocks not merely the latest Booker winner but the back-list of the author (if he has one). When J.M. Coetzee won that prize, even the pavement seller was selling Disgrace, but only in Premier’s would one find The Master of St. Petersburg as well. Mr Shanbhag keeps more, and better, hardback history than any other Indian shop I know; more, and better, literary fiction; and more, and better, translations.
That sounds rather familiar, for Strand in Mumbai is a similar store. And the owner of Strand, TN Shanbhag, is TS Shanbhag's uncle. It's surprising enough when someone builds a sustainable business out of the application of good taste, and it's surely astonishing that this skill should run in the family.

By the by, here's another piece by Guha on Premier's from three years ago.
amit varma, 8:25 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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