Friday, July 9, 2010

Uppity Women #10

It takes guts to go from winning the Man Booker Prize in 1997 to being virtually a pariah for her stance on social justice and poverty. Or vocally pointing out the fact that some actions by the West are not just paternalistic but down right self-interested and clearly not in the interest of those who will be held forever in their (literal) debt. And to protest just about every major decision that your government has made, while making much over one's freedom to do so. 

The God of Small Things, Roy's first novel, a jewel for which she won the Booker Prize, is no less important that her essays. But her essays, her fiery rhetoric in the Indian press are what really stand out and make her unique. The Cost of Living, a slim volume comprising The Greater Common Good, a veritable attack on the IMF, the G(insert whatever number you will) and The End of Imagination, an anti-nuclear treatise,  will spin your head around. I still remember reading it in 1999 and saying, "Wait... didn't she write fiction...?" Frankly, I've never looked at a dam the same way again. Any dam, anywhere. 

You can find both the essays mentioned above in a larger compilations of her essays, The Algebra of Infinite Justice.

Ms. Roy has been working on a new novel since 2007. She seems to be quite busy, however, making a whole lot of noise about social injustice in India and in the world at large. 

More power to her...

© Bright Nepenthe, 2010

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