25 October, 2020

Spicing The Dhansak

Refreshingly, a candid look

Spicing The Dhansak

Underlying the seemingly deprecatory description of Meher Pestonji's first book of stories - as "Parsi" - lurks defiance. Of current literary fashions, in which writers aspire to the balmy glow of "universality" while simultaneously relying on a profusion of ethnic and exotic detail about little-known communities and customs to create novelty. Pestonji's intentions, however, are radically different.

Her characters, though completely authentic in their Parsiness, are never the soft centres of mushy confections. Their predicaments are larger, braver, drawing them perilously close to transgressing the boundaries of their own delimiting perspectives. Narrow ordered worlds are pitted against the dissonance of chaos outside, with no easy recourse to escapist sentimentalism or elegiac nostalgia. And the outsider, the ingressor, is always full-blooded and real, as are the ensuing clashes of values. The author follows her plot and characters where they lead her with a down-to-earth gumption.

Pestonji's preoccupations as...



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