itha Hariharan’s writing has, over the years, come to inhabit a very distinct space: that of the creative writer responding to political events, which she makes no attempt to allegorise. Rather, they are present in all their starkness, irony, and tragedy. Beginning with The Thousand Faces of Night
and working her way through The Ghosts of Vasu Master
and When Dreams Travel
, Hariharan finally seems to have found the exact tone and language that she is at home in. The somewhat oblique irony and humour of the tale told in In Times of Seige
transforms itself into the spartan, elegant and nuanced prose of her latest work, Fugitive Histories
The parallel with Anne Michael’s brilliant and moving novel Fugitive Pieces (winner of the Orange award some years ago) is too obvious to miss. Hailed at the time as startlingly original, Michael’s novel tells the interlocking story of two men of different generations whose lives are deeply touched by war.
In Fugitive Histories, Sara, the daughter...