Published in the 14th issue of Zau magazine in February 2016
I’ve been a fan of historical fiction since long before I knew what the term meant. When I was ten years old I read Patricia Reilly Giff’s middle-grade novel Nory Ryan’s Song, which is set in Ireland during the Great Potato Famine of 1845. At that time, I was, of course, completely unaware of Irish history and of the mass level of destruction that this watershed event caused for Ireland – what I cared about was the story of Nory, a young girl trying to help her family survive the famine and the cruelties of their English landlord while having adventures in her coastal hometown of western Ireland. The historical setting of the novel was superfluous to ten-year-old me, apart from creating the very specific circumstances that Nory’s story grows out of – how she and her friend Sean try to prevent their neighbor from being evicted when she can’t pay rent, how she sings to her little brother to distract him from his hunger, her dream of one day reuniting with her older sister in Brooklyn.
Continue reading “Musings of a Reader: On Amitav Ghosh and the Importance of Historical Fiction”
Quick, off the top of your head, name five books that have gotten critical acclaim recently. Chances are the books you’ve named are mostly those written by a male author. ‘But that’s just because I read genres that are more male-dominated,’ you might argue.
Or, ‘Well, men write better books than women.’ Such arguments are overly simplistic (not to mention misogynistic, in the case of the latter) and ignore the deep-rooted sexism that is prevalent in the world of literature today.
Continue reading “Sexism in Literature”
Talking about books is one of my top favourite things to do. It’s right up there with eating French fries and, you know, actually reading the books I love talking about. This was why I refused to study literature as an academic subject for a long time. “You mean you get to discuss books at length? And you get graded for it? That seems too much fun to be real. There must be a catch.” Thankfully I got over it, and was ecstatic to discover, in one of my first literature classes, that I could gush about the many qualities of Mr Darcy and it would count as my assignment. The joy! The point being, talking about literature, to me is just plain fun.
Continue reading “Musings of a Reader: The Beginning”