Friday, March 03, 2023

Eight top books on borders concrete & intangible

Fatin Abbas is the author of Ghost Season: A Novel. Her short fiction has appeared in Granta, Freeman’s: The Best New Writing on Arrival, The Warwick Review, and Friction, amongst other places, and her journalism and non-fiction have appeared in The Nation, Le Monde diplomatique, Zeit Online, and Africa Is a Country, among other venues.

Abbas teaches fiction writing in the department of Comparative Media Studies/Writing at MIT.

At Lit Hub she tagged eight "favorite books on borders, border towns and border crossings of all kinds: physical as well as social crossings, cosmic escapades, and gender-defying odysseys." One title on the list:
Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things (1997)

I’m one of those readers for whom reading this novel, when I was in my late teens, was akin to a religious awakening or spiritual conversion. Here the borders that are crossed are not so much physical but social: the taboo boundaries of caste and incest. Set in Kerala, South India, the novel tells the story of fraternal twins Rahel and Esthappen, sister and brother who, at seven years old, experience traumatic events involving their mother, Ammu, and her Dalit lover, Velutha. The violence that ensues destroys the family, sending the twins on different paths, until they’re finally reunited twenty-four years later. The most powerful works of fiction are often the messiest and most raw—which is why Roy’s novel often polarizes readers. But every time I read The God of Small Things, I’m entirely in awe of the bold soul that dreamt it up.
Read about another entry on the list.

The God of Small Things is among Rebecca Wait's top ten books about twins, Alex Hyde's top ten mirrored lives in fiction, Saumya Roy's seven unlikely love stories in literature, and Miranda Doyle's top ten books about lies.

--Marshal Zeringue