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Radio Brew: Our Very Own JK Rowling? Young Adult Fantasy Fiction Finds an Indian Narrator


“We can’t hide the fact that we have all been raised from C S Lewis to Tolkien to the rest of them; that we have all been raised on various Hindu mythology and Indian mythologies and know more about pixies and fairies than perhaps even the Irish children…..thanks to Enid Blyton. So there is no hiding the fact that these are who our influencers are.”

Giti Chandra, Author: ‘The Fang Of Summoning’Audio Player

This podcast is another in our Radio Brew series where we interview thought leaders on the issues and institutions that matter to us as a country with increasing global visibility.

We felt that after much serious discussion on ethics, social innovation and development, we should change tracks, lighten up a bit, and look at some of our society’s trendsetters.

Our trendsetter this time around is a new author, Giti Chandra, whose first offering, the Fang of Summoning, has been described by critics as a fantasy novel in the same mould as Harry Potter.  Its publishers categorise it as a Young Adult or adolescent crossover appealing to a wider age group as well. This genre, in India and worldwide, has largely been dominated by JK Rowling, Teri Pratchett and Percy Jackson.

So here we have a literary academic plunging into a hitherto unexplored terrain in India. Now young adults in India can read stories about experiences and anxieties they can relate to at a more personal level.

As Giti herself puts it: the Fang of Summoning is not about ‘dumbing down’ but about addressing the real issues that India’s adolescents and their parents go through. She said it began as a process of storytelling with her nephews and nieces before morphing into a novel. Giti promises this is but just the beginning. We can expect a trilogy, and perhaps even an entire series of prequels and offshoots.

The Fang of Summoning zigzags chillingly between Iceland and India. The novel is about a war between ancient good and evil; between Vasuki (the Indian snake king) and Edasich (the orange star in astronomy).

Amid the leaping and spectacular Northern lights in the frozen mountains of Iceland, Vasuki — the giver of life, protector and friend — leaves a vital secret with a young girl.

A thousand years later, in the bustling suburb of Gurgaon, six young people discover that they are beginning to manifest amazing powers in preparation for the war ahead, under the tutelage of their grandfather Harish Chandra, the guardian of that secret.

It’s a fast-paced story of six superpower-endowed children finding themselves up against an ugly monster who can raise the dead to serve as his henchmen.

Giti draws on her family and friends for inspiration, giving her characters their personalities and sometimes, even names.

The way Giti describes it: her book is not about Hogwarts-like schools or alternative magic lands. It is, quite simply, just fantasy rooted in reality.

Listen in to hear the author tell it like it is.