Novellas: The Perfect Form of Prose Fiction
Dr. Jaina Sanga
Longer than a short story but shorter than a novel, the novella has been practiced for generations by distinguished writers. According to Ian McEwan, it is the perfect form of prose fiction, “the beautiful daughter of a rambling, bloated, ill-shaven giant.” The demands of economy require writers to polish their sentences to precision, bring off their effects with unusual intensity, remain focused on the narrative, and drive it forward while constantly mindful of its unity. Yet there is a lingering aesthetic criticism that haunts the form: A pervading sense that novellas are not finished stories, that some measure of necessary trimming, or bulking up, remains undone. We’ll discuss the novella’s strengths and limitations, and discover fresh reason to celebrate fiction’s most eccentric form.
Readings will include The Steppe by Anton Chekhov, The Dead by James Joyce, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, and The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami. The last class will feature a book signing and discussion of Tourist Season by Jaina Sanga.
October 5, 12, 19, and 26, 6:30 to 8:30pm
Tuition: Nonmembers $125; member discounts starting at $110
About the Instructor
Dr. Jaina Sanga is a professional writer of both fiction and non-fiction. Currently she focuses on her fiction writing and has published a novel – Silk Fish Opium (2012), a book of short stories – Train to Bombay (2015), and a book of novellas – Tourist Season (2017). Her fiction has won several prizes and led to her selection as a participant in prestigious residencies and workshops both in the U.S. and abroad.
Jaina is also a literary scholar, having taught at SMU and the Dallas Institute. She has published a book on Salman Rushdie, edited two volumes on South Asian literature, and authored several articles in scholarly journals in the U.S. and South Asia. She has also made numerous presentations at academic conferences around the world, including those in Berlin, Mumbai, Trinidad, Cape Town, Oviedo (Spain), Chicago, and San Francisco.
Jaina has a B.A. from Hiram College in Ohio, an M.A. in English Literature from Kent State University, and a Ph.D. in English Literature from Case Western Reserve University.
Jaina was born in Mumbai and now lives in Dallas. She is currently working on her fourth book of fiction, a detective novel set in India and Dubai.