04 December, 2020

Making Her Voice Heard

Good writing, but not great

Making Her Voice Heard
IT's time for womenspeak. For voices un-heard, un-known, un-sited. A time when Indian English women writers are seeking to escape the denying male gaze and replace it with an affirming female vision. Esther David's second book, By the Sabarmati, connects with the inchoate Indian tradition of women writing for women about women'in English. The 22 short stories'some only four pages'interweaving fact with fiction give a gendered readership stories that are 'my story-your story'.

Set in the slums and pols of Ahmedabad the stories, chiselled to reflect the bare beauty of pain and unending sorrow, transcreate, translate into English the often bleak yet momentarily joyous lives of women who're the same'whether they're the married Amina or Vidya, the to-be-divorced, upper middle-class Ruchi, or the deserted, impoverished, unnamed Yiddish woman. Despite moments of compelling insight the book doesn't evince the spark of genius that distinguishes great writing from good.

A well-intentioned selection, it foregrounds David's commitment to the task of being a...



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