Ida: Noon. Why Noon, Aatish?
Aatish: To my mind that hour–especially on the subcontinent–has a kind of menace about it. It is an hour of glare and stillness, of short shadows. And that apparent placidity that contains, in fact, an underlying violence is the mood of Noon; it is there right in the beginning when we encounter the false tranquility of the lake, formed over a terrible scene of devastation.
On a lighter note, noon—a meridian hour, remember!—is both literally and otherwise as far away from Nehru’s “freedom at midnight’” as it’s possible to be. And that for a book about the legacy of Partition is no bad thing.
Ida: It has a very jagged rhythm, Noon; ‘jolting,’ one reviewer described it. Why did you do that?
Aatish: I wanted the book to be as much in its form about what it is about as it is in its content.
Ida: You lost me there. Please Explain.
Aatish: I wanted there to be absences in the actual structure of the book. I wanted that feeling of rupture and dissonance that one has at the end to be part of the fabric of the book, like the static the follows the end of a movie. I wanted the book to express its main themes as much in form as in content, for loss and separation to be part of the architecture of the book. Someone in London said to me that they felt the book’s shape resembled the shape of modern lives. I hope that’s true; because that is what I wanted. more