Thursday, May 03, 2012

Five top titles in recent South Asian literature

Ahmede Hussain is a Bangladeshi author. His books include the acclaimed Notes on Islam, and the story anthology The New Anthem.

With Jessica Mudditt at The Browser, he discussed five notable books in recent South Asian literature, including:
The Glass Palace
by Amitav Ghosh

Next let’s turn to The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh.

What I really liked about this novel is the way it describes an individual’s place in history. It’s not so much that Ghosh makes a judgement on whether we are agents or victims of history, but he explores the different ways in which individuals react to particular incidents, and how some manage to overcome adversity. The Glass Palace follows the life of the last Burmese king and his family. It begins shortly before the king was deposed and sent into exile by the British army.

As well as narrating the events that changed the lives of the royal family, it depicts the changing tide of history through the eyes of several characters, including one of the king’s consorts and a poor boy called Rajkumar. Rajkumar was born in Chittagong, Bangladesh, which is also where my own family is from. He leaves his home at a young age to find work, and when he reaches Burm, he falls in love with one of the princess’s servants. It’s an enduring love story, and very beautifully told. The novel takes the reader all the way up to modern times.
Read about another book Hussain tagged at The Browser.

--Marshal Zeringue