What's the point in worrying? You write the most honest book that you can write - some people like it, some people don't. It's not the case that the only negative reviews you get are going to be in India. I don't really lose sleep over it. A thoughtful negative review can also be very interesting.
What is less nice is when the negative reviews are pure attack pieces, where you feel the author has an agenda.
But if you're going to be a writer and going to put a book out there, you can obsess over the reviews. You have to be deeply ironic about your reviews - both the positive and the negative.
I thought a lot of books coming out of India were taking a very simplistic positive take on things, or a very simplistic negative take on things. I was trying to say that it's actually both. That it's a very complex country and that it's not simple to judge it.
What are your favourite India books?
Among novels, Midnight's Children ranks up there...And then there's Upamanyu Chatterjee's English August, An Indian Story. It's an absolutely brilliant book, not known nearly as well as it should be.
Among non-fiction books, VS Naipul's A Million Mutinies Now is an absolute classic. I also like Suketu Mehta's book on Bombay (Maximum City). Sunil Khilnani's The Idea of India was brilliant.
Who are your favourite writers and critics?
(Anton) Chekhov, RK Narayan and Raymond Carver are my favourite writers.
Among contemporary critics, I find James Wood very thoughtful and very inspiring. In India, I think Nilanjana Roy's criticism is very good.
Image courtesy: Akash Kapur