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South Asian Novelists in English (2003) by Jaina C. SangaWith the publication of Salman Rushdie's Booker Prize winning novel, ^IMidnight's Children^R in 1981, followed by the unprecedented popularity of his subsequent works, the cinematic adaptation of Michael Ondaatje's ^IThe English Patient,^R many other best-sellers written by South Asian novelists writing in English have gained a tremendous following. This reference is a guide to their lives and writings. The volume focuses on novelists born in South Asia who have written and continue to write about issues concerning that region. Some of the novelists have published widely, while others are only beginning their literary careers. The volume includes alphabetically arranged entries on more than 50 South Asian novelists. Each entry is written by an expert contributor and includes a biography, a discussion of major works and themes, a summary of the novelist's critical reception, and primary and secondary bibliographies. Since many of the contributors are personally acquainted with the novelists, they are able to offer significant insights. The volume closes with a selected bibliography of studies of the South Asian novel in English, along with a list of anthologies and periodicals.
MLA International Bibliography is the definitive literary research database, indexing the most authoritative Desai scholarship published in books and academic journals. MLA indexes and links to the entire JSTOR literary research collectionas well as linking to many other full-text providers and the Colby College Libraries catalog. If you discover books or articles through MLA that are not available at Colby or through our lending partners, please request these items using your ILLiad Account.
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Decentering Rushdie (2010) by Pranav JaniInterrogating current theories of cosmopolitanism, nationalism, and aesthetics in Postcolonial Studies, Decentering Rushdie offers a new perspective on the Indian novel in English. Since Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children won the Booker Prize in 1981, its postmodern style and postnational politics have dominated discussions of postcolonial literature. As a result, the rich variety of narrative forms and perspectives on the nation that constitute the field have been obscured, if not erased altogether. Reading a range of novels published between the 1950s and 1990s, including works by Nayantara Sahgal, Kamala Markandaya, Anita Desai, and Arundhati Roy, Decentering Rushdie suggests an alternative understanding of the genre in postcolonial India. Pranav Jani documents the broad shift from nation-oriented to postnationalist perspectives following the watershed crisis of the Emergency of the 1970s. Recovering the "namak-halaal cosmopolitanism" of early novels--a cosmopolitanism that is "true to its salt"--Decentering Rushdie also explains the rise and critical celebration of postnational cosmopolitanism. Decentering Rushdie thus resituates contemporary literature within a nuanced history of Indian debates about cosmopolitanism and the national question. In the process, Jani articulates definitions of cosmopolitanism and nationalism that speak to the complex negotiation of language, culture, and representation in postcolonial South Asia.
See Chapter "Ideological Ambiguities of "Writing Back": Anita Desai and George Lamming in the Heart of Darkness"
Counterrealism and Indo-Anglian Fiction (2002) by Chelva KanaganayakamWhat do R.K. Narayan, G.V. Desani, Anita Desai, Zulfikar Ghose, Suniti Namjoshi, and Salman Rushdie have in common? They represent Indian writing in English over five decades. Vilified by many cultural nationalists for not writing in native languages, they nonetheless present a critique of the historical and cultural conditions that promoted and sustained writing in English. They also have in common a counterrealist aesthetic that asks its own social, political, and textual questions. This book is about the need to look at the tradition of Indian writing in English from the perspective of counterrealism. The departure from the conventions of mimetic writing not only challenges the limits of realism but also enables Indo-Anglian authors to access formative areas of colonial experience. Kanaganayakam analyzes the fiction of writers who work in this vibrant Indo-Anglian tradition and demonstrates patterns of continuity and change during the last five decades. Each chapter draws attention to what is distinctive about the artifice in each author while pointing to the features that connect them. The book concludes with a study of contemporary writing and its commitment to non-mimetic forms.
See Chapter "Character, Semantic Space and Linguistic Correlates: Evidences from Anita Desai's Fiction"
Postcolonial Literatures (1995) by Michael Parker (Editor); Roger Starkey (Editor)This collection of essays reflects the intensified debate world-wide in literary theories, especially since 1968, and the growth of post-colonial literatures in English, which together have prompted significant re-readings of cultural histories in Africa, India, the Caribbean, as well as in America and Europe. Post-Colonial Literatures scrutinises the work of four writers: Achebe, Ngugi, Desai and Walcott, and their attempts to find new languages and new narratives to engage with the complex histories of their 'homelands'.
Call Number: Miller PR9080 .P56 1995
Cultural Imperialism and the Indo-English Novel (1993) by Fawzia Afzal-KhanCultural Imperialism and the Indo-English Novel focuses on the novels of R. K. Narayan, Anita Desai, Kamala Markandaya, and Salman Rushdie and explores the tension in these novels between ideology and the generic fictive strategies that shape ideology or are shaped by it. Fawzia Afzal-Khan raises the important question of how much the usage of certain ideological strategies actually helps the ex-colonized writer deal effectively with postcolonial and postindependence trauma and whether or not the choice of a particular genre or mode employed by a writer presupposes the extent to which that writer will be successful in challenging the ideological strategies of "containment" perpetuated by most Western "orientalist" texts and writers. She argues that the formal or generic choices of the four writers studied here reveal that they are using genre as an ideological "strategy of liberation" to help free their peoples and cultures from the hegemonic strategies of "containment" imposed upon them. She concludes that the works studied here constitute an ideological rebuttal of Western writers' denigrating "containment" of non-Western cultures. She also notes that self-criticism, as implied in Rushdie's works, is not be confused with self-hatred, a theme found in Naipaul's work.
The Zigzag Way (2004) by Anita DesaiIn her long, distinguished career, Anita Desai has focused her capacious vision on questions of culture and identity. Her mesmerizing new novel, The Zigzag Way, brings her fiction to an unexpected region of the world: mythical, lush Mexico. In this seductive landscape, a young American stumbles upon an unlikely path to self-discovery. Eric is a newly minted historian just out of graduate school, unsure of his past choices and future options. With no clear direction, he follows his lover, Em, when she travels to the Yucatan for her scientific research, but he ends up alone in this foreign place. And so he pursues his own private quest, tracing his family's history to a Mexican ghost town, where, a hundred years earlier, young Cornish miners toiled to the death. With vivid sympathy, Desai conjures the struggles of Eric's grandparents and their community. Now, in place of the Cornish workers, the native Huichol Indians suffer the cruelty of the mines. When he inquires into their lives, Eric provokes the ire of their self-appointed savior, Dona Vera. Known as the "Queen of the Sierra," Dona Vera is the widow of a mining baron who has dedicated her fortune to preserving the Huichol culture. But her formidable presence belies a dubious past. The zigzag paths of these characters converge on the Day of the Dead, bringing together past and present in a moment of powerful epiphany. Haunting and atmospheric, with splashes of exuberant color and darker violence, The Zigzag Way is a magical novel of elegiac beauty.
Call Number: Miller PR9499.3.D465 Z644 2004
Diamond Dust (2000) by Anita DesaiUpon the recent publication of Fasting, Feasting, critics raved about Anita Desai: "Desai is more than smart; she's an undeniable genius" (Washington Post Book World). The Wall Street Journal called Fasting, Feasting "poignant, penetrating . . . a splendid novel, " while the Boston Globe celebrated Desai's "beautiful literary universe." Now, in this richly diverse collection, Desai trains her luminous spotlight on private universes, stretching from India to New England, from Cornwall to Mexico. Skillfully navigating the fault lines between social obligation and personal loyalties, the men and women in these nine tales set out on journeys that suddenly go beyond the pale -- or surprisingly lead them back to where they started from. In the mischievous title story, a beloved dog brings nothing but disaster to his obsessed master; in other tales, old friendships and family ties stir up buried feelings, demanding either renewed commitment or escape. And in the final exquisite story, a young woman discovers a new kind of freedom in Delhi's rooftop community. With her trademark "perceptiveness, delicacy of language, and sharp wit" (Salman Rushdie) in full evidence here, Anita Desai once again gloriously confirms that she is "India's finest writer in English" (Independent).
Call Number: Miller PR9499.3.D465 D52 2000
Fasting, Feasting (2000) by Anita DesaiHailed as “unsparing, yet tender and funny,” Fasting, Feasting is a “splendid novel” about siblings and their very different lives in India and America. (The Wall Street Journal) Fasting, Feasting tells the moving story of Uma, the plain older daughter of an Indian family, tied to the household of her childhood and tending to her parents' every extravagant demand, and of her younger brother, Arun, across the world in Massachusetts, bewildered by his new life in college and the suburbs, where he lives with the Patton family. Beautifully written and bleakly comedic, Fasting, Feasting explores family dynamics in opposing cultures. Desai has a gift for conveying “the tangled complexities of Indian tradition with an economy of language that is clean, simple and elegantly straightforward." (The Denver Post)
Call Number: Miller PR9499.3.D465 F3 2000
Journey to Ithaca (1995) by Anita DesaiIn her first novel since the widely praised Baumgartner's Bombay, Anita Desai brilliantly evokes spiritual India in all its endless complexity, and examines the nature of pilgrimage through the aspirations and adventures of three superbly realized characters. Matteo and Sophie join the 1970s flight of young Europeans to India. Matteo -- Italian, raised in the luscious countryside around Lake Como, restless since childhood -- has been introduced by a tutor to Hermann Hesse's The Journey to the East, and it opens in him a desperate longing. Sophie -- German, practical, worldly -- is willing to follow him to the ends of the earth. In India, together they visit swamis, gurus, ashrams -- always searching. Matteo is seeking spiritual enlightenment, but for Sophie fulfillment lies in earthly love. And when they meet a holy woman known as the Mother, the differences between them seem to explode. When we learn the Mother's story, we see it as an earlier version of their own -- the story of a young girl growing up in Cairo and finding her way East by joining a troupe of Indian dancers she has met in Europe. Her journey, a young woman's daring progress through Paris and Venice and New York, until she finds her moment of transcendence in India, comments on, and gives added breadth to, the young couple's quest. In telling what happens to Matteo and Sophie and the mother, Anita Desai gives us a novel of great richness, an extraordinary vision of a country, and a compassionate portrait of people struggling to find a spiritual home. Journey to Ithaca is her most powerful and most involving novel.
Call Number: Miller PR9499.3.D465 J68 1995
Baumgartner's Bombay (1989) by Anita Desai“Beautifully observed... Recovers a lost slice of history in its portrayal of a wounded survivor.” – Observer “Hugo Baumgartner, the central character of Anita Desai’s dazzling novel, is a wandering Jew all his life. From the agonizing scenes of his childhood in pre-war Berlin, through his spell in business in Calcutta and then Bombay, he simply does not belong. Too dark for Hitler’s society, he is too fair for India; he remains a firanghi, a foreigner, wherever he goes.” – Daily Telegraph “Cleverly constructed, and full of sharp perceptions about human nature under the skin, whatever the colour.” – The Times From the Trade Paperback edition.
Clear Light of Day (2000) by Anita DesaiShortlisted for the Man Booker Prize: A "rich, Chekhovian novel" about family and forgiveness from the acclaimed author of Fire on the Mountain (The New Yorker). At the heart of this "wonderful" novel are the moving relationships between the estranged members of the Das family (Washington Post Book World). Bimla is a dissatisfied but ambitious teacher at a women's college who lives in her childhood home, where she cares for her mentally challenged brother, Baba. Tara is her younger, unambitious sister, married and with children of her own. Raja is their popular, brilliant, and successful brother. When Tara returns for a visit with Bimla and Baba, old memories and tensions resurface, blending into a domestic drama that leads to beautiful and profound moments of self-understanding. Set in the vividly portrayed environs of Old Delhi, "Clear Light of Day does what only the very best novels can do: it totally submerges us. It also takes us so deeply into another world that we almost fear we won't be able to climb out again" (New York Times Book Review). "Passages must be read and reread so that you savor their imagery, their language, and their wisdom." -- Washington Post Book World "[A] thoroughly universal tale of unhealable family hurts . . . Distinctively shaded with enticing glimpses of India's Hindu middle-class in shabby decline." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review