15 May, 2021

Saccharine Edges

Global Booker, global writer and universal literature. Peace out.

Saccharine Edges

A few days after being shortlisted for the Man Booker, which was until this year reserved for writers from countries in the Commonwealth, Indian-American writer Jhumpa Lahiri also made it to the shortlist of the American National Book Award. If she were to win both, The Lowland would become the best book written in the English speaking world in 2013 and Lahiri would be consecrated as the conqueror of this entire territory of English literature. You and I in India will weep with emotion and invoke Tagore and the Bengali legacy. The Americans will grin condescendingly because it is the American Dream to conquer and those who succeed are American by default—call a rose by any name! And for the Brits, who bothers about erstwhile colonisers anymore?

Ever since she won the Pulitzer in 2000, Lahiri is a name that has made me think of a fast-spinning globe. The thought was set off by the legend her book carried: “Stories of Bengal, Boston and Beyond”, the operative word being...

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