The edible edition of Warp and Weft – A novel by Vinay Jalla

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  • A big thank you to all readers for the 200+ likes on the ‘Warp and Weft – A novel by Vinay Jalla’ Facebook page.
  • Sold 200+ copies worldwide of both the digital and paperback editions of ‘Warp and Weft’ in the last quarter.
  • Lots of positive comments from readers all over the world on BBC Radio Manchester, NRI Pulse Newspaper, Deccan Herald – grassroots to galaxies, Indian Express, The Hindu, Caleidoscope Cultural Mag- and other blogs and websites that have featured and reviewed Warp and Weft.
  • The Telugu translation of ‘Warp and Weft’ is underway. We are hopeful of releasing it early next year.

This book cake is golden sponge with a fruity raspberry jam and butter-cream filling, covered in soft icing!!! Yummy!!!


BOOK REVIEW: Vinay Jalla’s novel ‘Warp and Weft’ in The New Indian Express

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Vinay Jalla’s novel Warp and Weft was recently reviewed in The New Indian Express – an Indian English-language broadsheet daily newspaper


Same old wine, same old bottle
By Lakshmi Ramanarayanan – BANGALORE  – The New Indian Express

If one asks Indian writers who their biggest literary inspiration is, a good number of them will probably say R K Narayan. It is no different for Bangalore-based journalist-turned-writer Vinay Jalla whose debut novel Warp and Weft recounts the story of the silk weavers and inhabitants of the fictional village Zarivaram. Like his guru Narayan, Jalla goes for simplicity in his novel’s characters and storyline. It is set in Zarivaram, a landscape concocted by the author and falling in the Andhra Pradesh-Karnataka border area, between the mid-1940s and 1960s. It narrates the story of Narayana, an orphan whose wretched poverty hardens his mind to the greatest reality of life that money dictates all. This is highlighted by a sermon given to the young Narayana by the mysterious village boogeyman Gagoopa: “God made man, man made money, money made man mad”. The poor protagonist, drunkard Venkataiah, the wretched housewives Nagalamma and Gowramma, the toddy tapper Konda Kothi and the zamindar Ram Das have an earthy charm initially, but it soon gets old as the novel seems to meander in an almost direction-less manner after a hundred-odd pages. In one of his interviews, Jalla mentions how Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy inspired him to write a “long novel”. This turns out to be a big undoing though. Writing a lengthy novel for the sake of it is never a good idea. One can choose a leisurely tone of narration only if the content is strong enough to hold the readers. In many ways, Warp and Weft reminds one of a Bollywood movie of the 1970s. It talks about drunkard husbands who beat their wives, the oppressed wives who silently accept the ill treatment meted out to them, the rich men and women who treat the lower castes as “untouchables”, the gulf between the silk merchants and weavers and the trials and travails of a poor and abused protagonist. Throw in some romance, sacrifice, conflict, fate and tragedy and there you have it – a story which is very reminiscent of an “Angry Young Man” Amitabh Bachchan movie! It is no surprise then that the novel slowly builds up to a chaotic climax and eventually a happy ending, hurriedly and predictably resolving the conflicts between some of its characters on its way. In other words, it is a story that comes a few decades too late. One may enjoy it if one wants to get a rustic sense of rural life which is so different from the urban one. However, there are many novels which do so much better – like R K Narayan himself, who remains unparalleled to this day when it comes to combining village life, richlyetched characters, humour and tragedy in an engaging fashion. In fact, the clear references and tributes to some of Narayan’s most popular novels don’t do the author any good here. The appearance of Mahathma Gandhi at the beginning of the story reminds one of Gandhi’s cameo in Waiting for the Mahathma and the pranks of young Narayana and his friends are a throwback to the unforgettable Swami and Friends. But frankly, no one can pull off a Narayan quite like Narayan himself. What is more, the name of the novel’s central character itself is a clear shout out to the late novelist. Despite its flaws, the novel does have some memorable moments which hit the mark. For example, when a woman who is beaten up by her drunkard husband asks her friend why all men are alike, the latter responds: “because all women are alike.” The sense of irony is not lost in this simple but cruel truth stated in so blunt a fashion. Sadly, such moments are few and far between. On many occasions, the author loses the reader when he seems to start lecturing on morality rather than use his story and characters to convey his point. To his credit, Jalla succeeds in intertwining the life of his protagonist with many other characters, making sure he presents a wholesome picture of the life of the silk weavers of Zarivaram. But ultimately, the novel fails to fully utilise the opportunity to highlight the intricacies of the art of weaving, leaving it with very little that is original to offer. The author’s dedication to write and self-publish his novel is definitely worthy of appreciation and encouragement, but his story-telling can improve. There is clearly a writer in him as his language seems strong enough. He just needs to tell better stories.

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BOOK REVIEW: Vinay Jalla’s novel ‘Warp and Weft’

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Vinay Jalla’s novel Warp and Weft was recently reviewed in a popular community newspaper published in the US.

Warp and Weft: Earthy, Reflective Tale
BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE – NRI Pulse newspaper

Book: Warp and Weft; Author: Vinay Jalla; Available on in paperback and digital edition.

“God made Man. Man made Money. Money made Man Mad” an elusive character Gagoopa sermons protagonist Narayana. The quote essentially embodies the essence of Warp and Weft.  Vinay Jalla weaves his novel with tender love and care, treading us through the rustic lanes of the fictitious Zarivaram, reconnoitering the life and times of its inhabitants, at its raw and rustic best.

Much reminiscent of R.K. Narayan’s Malgudi, Zarivaram houses many characters including protagonist Narayana. In fact, we get to learn about the unfortunate conditions under which Narayana comes into the world. Reflective of some of real life weaver’s conditions, which are nowhere near silky, Jalla’s characters are soaking in poverty barely making ends meet.  The stories and characters are familiar – liquor and its ugly repercussions on already deprived families, the oppressed wives Nagalamma and Gowramma who bear the burden with no opposition, the landlords and affluent who live on an aptly titled “” Street, separating them not just on a physical grounds, but something much deeper, all woven to silky –smooth perfection.

Jalla’s Narayana is raised by a neighbor after his mother dies at childbirth. His father, already a drunkard, way wards into self-destruction. Amidst utter dismay, Narayana manages to find his share of happiness with friends Iqbal and Ramu. They build a world of their own, be it playing marbles, knocking off tops or flying kites. But then nature strikes and Zarivaram is barren with no rain in sight. The drought’s fury consumes many including his own aunt who had adopted him. Narayana learns to barely survive, the hard way. But that is not what he wants. Humiliation, helplessness and the weather as harsh as people eventually followed by his meeting with the mysterious Gagoopa lead him to promise to himself that he will be the rich and he will do it the right way, by working earnestly. Narayana’s quest to overcome overwhelming conditions forms the rest of the narrative.

Even though we follow Narayana’s story throughout, credit goes to Jalla for intertwining many lives and their tales in a narrative so earthy, I could almost smell and feel the soil. Having spent most of my summer vacations in the village as a kid, I can relate to climbing of mango trees and relishing them with salt, or simply being part of nature at its organic best. Therein lies the strength of the novel – unassuming and unpretentious the story unfolds at a gradual pace, building Narayana’s character and the circumstances around him naturally.

Warp and Weft has a laid back narrative; Jalla is in no hurry to get to the conclusion, which truly makes it a good scrumptious read, delving into details, be it the nitty gritty of flying a kite or intrinsic art of weaving sarees. The approach to Jalla’s storytelling is simplistic yet substantial. Narayan’s character is also strong willed despite his depravity. He holds on to his morals, even when it would have been easy and justifiable to give in to temptation, as he does when he refuses to take tips from vendors as a loader of sarees in Bangalore. He wants to build good will, and not in the mood for instant gratification. In today’s times where everyone wants to get everywhere in a NY minute, Warp and Weft weaves a restrained, robust and reflective tale of what lies beneath those gorgeous sarees displayed at the showrooms. If you are in the mood for a fast paced thriller, this is certainly not your first choice. If you however want to get back to your roots, refresh your childhood memories, especially if you grew up in or around villages, this certainly makes for a silky read.

Check out Vinay Jalla’s novel ‘Warp and Weft’ on Facebook