Shelf Life

The Hotel at the End of the World

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Let’s make it clear, the graphic novel has not yet arrived in India. It’s done the strangest thing here. Where it should logically have had a wide appeal, the form has left many intimidated by its approach. Parismita Singh could have made a difference. Her novel runs on the theme of escape; travellers stranded at the hotel at the end of the world tell stories—the agony of being death’s messenger, paradise found and lost—that take you beyond the frontiers of reality. But Singh is not as talented an artist as storyteller. Good ideas inspired by miniatures and mandalas fall flat, some frames are illegible and creating distinct faces seems to be a particular difficulty. There's no glory in being a graphic novelist without formal training if that blot of amateurishness stains your entire work.