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ou must have heard the term ‘whitewashing’ of stories. Why are people so baffled when Scarlett Johansson is cast to play an Asian character? What is at stake here?
European powers colonized pretty much the entire world. Scholars believe the colonial process has not ceased even though the colonies have gained independence.
Bran Nicol writes interestingly in The Cambridge Introduction To Postmodern Fiction, “Representation, whether through the media, art or other cultural practices, is a crucial and powerful means of maintaining control over a people- but also a way by which the colonised can resist, subvert or critique the colonial process.”
This is how we reclaim our voices, one story at a time.
Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto
Salman Rushdie described it as “one of the very best books to come out of India in a long, long time.” The book centers on the Mendes family and how they struggle with Imelda’s bipolar disorder and suicidal tendencies. She is the mother of the unnamed narrator, is witty, and has strong opinions.
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
Keiko, a 36-year-old woman does not fit into any mold the society has cast for women. She is unmarried and has worked at a convenience store for 18 years. She does not want to change either of these two facts about herself to the agony of both, her friends and family. It is not a story about wanting to fit in. It raises the question of why does she have to.
The Rice Mother by Rani Manicka
A 14-year-old Lakshmi leaves Ceylon for Malaya because of her marriage to a wealthy but old man. However, it seems she and her family were misled about his prosperity, and she has to raise a family through dire circumstances. The book chronicles the life of three generations of women of the same family.
Chemistry by Weike Wang
The protagonist is struggling with her Ph.D. in chemistry while her boyfriend, a successful chemist has popped the big question. She does not want to answer because she is not content where she stands in her life. Metaphors in the language of chemistry used to reflect upon the person she has become leave a striking mark on the reader.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Hosseini’s first novel tells the story of two boys Amir and Hassan set against the backdrop of tumultuous Afghanistan. It is an unlikely friendship between a rich boy and the son of his father’s servant. The book’s raw depiction of guilt, redemption, and loving father-son relationships captivates you. Be prepared to cry your heart out!