In February, the Indian Author’s Book Group discussed books by the author Anita Desai.
Anita Desai was born in 1937 in Mussoorie, India, to a German immigrant mother, Toni Nime, and a Bengali businessman, D. N. Mazumdar. She grew up in New Delhi. She now lives in the United States, where she is a Professor of Writing at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
For information about her life, books and awards, click on:
The books we collectively read were:
Fire on the Mountain (1977)
Games at Twilight and other Stories (1978)
Clear Light of Day (1980)
In Custody (1984)
Fasting, Feasting (1999)
The Artist of Disappearance (2011)
In our discussions, we commented on Anita Desai’s intriguing, detailed and beautiful writing, often based on imagery of Indian Kashmir, Old Delhi, the weather, the dust, the light and shade. But this beauty is often contrasted with confronting details of the characters and family relationships: the dominance of men in family relationships, the dysfunction of some of the characters, and the struggle to move away from old rules, such as arranged marriages. We also discussed the relationships an expatriot such as Anita Desai has with her country and culture of birth, whilst living in another country and culture. In the British Council link above, Anita Desai confesses that while she ‘feels about India as an Indian,’ she thinks about it ‘as an outsider’.