Writings of Anita Desai

The Feature on “ Writings of Anita Desai” brings together research papers that illuminate the nuances of Indian society by discussing Desai’s seminal novels like In Custody, Village by the Sea, A Clear Light of the Day and Fasting, Feasting. Desai's novels offer a poignant commentary on the state of humanity and the socio-cultural milieu of India, in addition to their aesthetic appeal. Feature editor Dr Sapna Dogra emphatically states that Desai’s “literary oeuvre, spanning several decades attests to her masterful ability to delve into the complexities of the human psyche”.
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In a tribute to Nobel Laureate Alice Munro, who passed away in May 2024, H Kalpana Rao writes, “She will be deeply missed for her magical storytelling that illuminated and brightened the lives of readers like me and more importantly made women reflect on their lives and their predicaments and enlightened the reader on how a short story could bring forth women from dark, inner confines to open, colourful open pathways.” (LITERARY SECTION)


“Desai carefully wraps the narrative in the household, domestic space but imbues it with all technologies of Gothic horror to ensure the repressed arises to the surface. The text is crucial in identifying how novels of Indian writing in English do not merely adapt to the British or American Gothic form.” (Mansi Plaha in “Disguise of the Domestic - Anita Desai’s Cry, The Peacock from a Gothic Lens”). (FEATURE)


“Anita Desai’s Clear Light of Day may be read as a depiction of the social Othering of an ageing Autistic Baba through his relationships with siblings. Desai argues that in the absence of government support and lack of resources, continuous caregiving becomes a burden borne only by the women of the household.” (Shamayita Sen in “Autism and Caregiving in Anita Desai’s Clear Light of Day”). (FEATURE)


“I wanted to render Janki’s profound commitment to her music, a dedication bordering on spiritual practice, in all its self-consecration and austerity. And the energy she drew from this… So, it’s hard to say … whether one’s life in real-time is one’s mainstream existence and one’s life-in-art is the accompaniment, or whether it’s the other way round.” (Neelum Saran Gour, In Conversation) (LITERARY SECTION) 


A solitary life is often always defined by its merits by the solitary seeker. However, the same solitariness can become awkward, poignant and maybe unacceptable at times. Death of a neighbour by Rushalee Goswami is a pathetic portrayal of a lone dead man. (FICTION)


Patriarchy is a dominant ideology that sometimes the repercussions may be loathing and deeply hurting. Blue Slippers by Sakkho Gun is a true depiction of how cold and cruel can patriarchy turn into. (FICTION)


Akhila Mohan CG’s poems explore the nuanced aspects of power with sensitivity, delving into the complexities of its experience. Her reflections on violence and abuse manifest through poetry that is both straightforward and profoundly impactful. (POETRY)


Ganesh Puthur's poetry seamlessly weaves together nostalgia and the stark reality of life’s challenges. While there is no dwelling solely in the past, its essence permeates the present, keeping one alert amidst trials and tribulations. (POETRY)


Ketaki Datta’ s review of The Bard and his Sister-in-Law by Lopamudra Banerjee shows how the intelligentsia of Bengal and the Bengali readers, here and abroad will be won over by the erstwhile charm of Jorasanko Thakurbari, rather, the Tagore family. (BOOK REVIEWS)


Sapna Dogra reviews Edward Said: A Critical Introduction by Jaydeep Chakrabarty, a book meant for the students of humanities and social sciences. The author helps them understand the theorist Edward Said and teaches them how to read literary texts with the help of critical tools. (BOOK REVIEWS)


This Issue of Muse India is sponsored by Mrs Ambika Ananth, Founder-Editor of Muse India and former Chief Editor.

Past Issues

Issue:115:FEATURE: Kerala Writing in Malayalam

Issue:114:Post-Independence Bengali Poetry

Issue:113:Contemporary Gujarati Literature

Issue:112:Conversations – Contemporary Indian Women Poets

Issue:111:Kerala Writing in English

Issue:110:Indian Graphic Novels

Issue:109:Literature of the Northeast

Issue:108:Muse India Haikai Special 2023