27 July, 2021

Writerly Truths

For readers concerned with the politics of writing, the writer's responsibility, the nature of the literary imagination, this is a book that needs to be read from cover to cover.

Writerly Truths
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
In the hierarchy of writing styles and genres that generally obtains in the literary world, fiction is often valorised as the only ‘real’ writing, while non-fiction comes a poor second. Amitav Ghosh has always been one of my favourite writers and in his impressive body of work, it is the non-fiction that, for me, marks him as distinct. This latest collection—an eclectic mix of academic essays, general prose pieces, reflective and personal musings—only serves to confirm my judgement.

Written over a long period of time, on a diverse range of subjects and put together here for the first time, the pieces might at first mystify the reader. After all, what possible connection can a memoir of the poet Aga Shahid Ali and a discussion of the Baburnama have to do with labour history and an analysis of the Indian diaspora? But on closer reading, a number of themes and concerns emerge which illuminate and elucidate Ghosh’s other writing in ways that the writer himself is often shy of...

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