22 June, 2021

Stripped Clean

If quality prose is the measure, then this debut collection of stories, belongs with the best that the unlikely collision of Indian and American cultures has produced

Stripped Clean
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

For a young community—less than 50 years old for all intents and purposes—Indian-Americans have an outsize voice in Indian letters. Jhumpa Lahiri’s fiction and Suketu Mehta’s non-fiction are as well-known in their ancestral homeland as in their adopted one. If quality prose is the measure, then Quarantine, Rahul Mehta’s debut collection of stories, belongs with the best that this unlikely collision of cultures has produced.

Mehta is a cartographer of the interstices between two worlds. His characters emerge from families where a grandson is expected to touch his grandfather’s feet, and a mother warns a son against being too dark lest he ruin his marriage prospects. At the same time, vacation in India includes a schedule for popping the anti-malarial drug Larium. Siblings battle with conflicting ideas of the purpose of marriage: romantic fulfilment or procreation. The newly rich seek their American neighbours’ approval even as they fret about losing their children to an alien way of...

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