Mirrorwork: 50 Years of Indian Writing 1947-1997
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Titel: Mirrorwork: 50 Years of Indian Writing 1947-...
Verlag: Picador August 15, 1997
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This unique anthology presents thirty-two selections by Indian authors writing in English over the past half-century. Selected by Salman Rushdie and Elizabeth West, these novel excerpts, stories, and memoirs illuminate wonderful writing by authors often overlooked in the West. Chronologically arranged to reveal the development of Indian literature in English, this volume includes works by Jawaharlal Nehru, Nayantara Sahgal, Saadat Hasan Manto, G.V. Desani, Nirad C. Chaudhuri, Kamala Markandaya, Mulk Raj Anand, R.K. Narayan, Ved Mehta, Anita Desai, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Satyajit Ray, Salman Rushdie, Padma Perera, Upamanyu Chatterjee, Rohinton Mistry, Bapsi Sidhwa, I. Allan Sealy, Shashi Tharoor, Sara Suleri, Firdaus Kanga, Anjana Appachana, Amit Chaudhuri, Amitav Ghosh, Githa Hariharan, Gita Mehta, Vikram Seth, Vikram Chandra, Ardashir Vakil, Mukul Kesavan, Arundhati Roy, and Kiran Desai.Review:
"Put India in the Atlantic Ocean," Salman Rushdie writes in his introduction to this anthology of Indian writers, "and it would reach from Europe to America; put India and China together and you've got almost half the population of the world. It's high time Indian literature got itself noticed, and it's happening." It's no accident that Mirrorwork comprises Indian literature produced during the 50 years between 1947 and 1997; timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Indian independence, this collection is, above all, a celebration of the marriage of English language and Indian culture. Rushdie rather provocatively states that "the prose writing--both fiction and non-fiction--created in this period by Indian writers writing in English is proving to be a stronger and more important body of work than most of what has been produced in the 16 'official languages' of India; the so-called 'vernacular languages,' during the same time." One might (and certainly many will) quibble with this premise, but no one can argue that the works included in Mirrorwork aren't top-drawer.
Many of the authors included in this collection are known to Western readers--Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, for example, Arundhati Roy, Rohinton Mistry, and of course Rushdie himself, to name just a few. Others, such as Saadat Hasan Manto (the only author here to appear in translation) or G.V. Desani, may be welcome new reading experiences. The anthology is a fascinating mix of nonfiction (Nehru's famous "Tryst with Destiny" speech, in which he uttered the immortal words "At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom," or Nayantara Sahgal's "With Pride and Prejudice") and fiction that ranges from the "Stendhalian realism of a writer like Rohinton Mistry" to Rushdie's own wild flights of fantasy. In all its diversity of styles, themes, and approaches, Mirrorwork is a reflection of the wonderful bedfellows the English language and the Indian sensibility truly make. --Alix Wilber
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