Calling An Alien Land Home
Anita Balakrishnan
SUNITA DE SOUZA GOES TO SYDNEY AND OTHER STORIES by Roanna Gonsalves Speaking Tiger, New Delhi, 2018, 286 pp., 399
December 2018, volume 42, No 12

Chroniclers of the diasporic Indian experience are many: celebrated names such as Salman Rushdie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Meena Alexander and Chitra Banerji Divakaruni spring immediately to mind. Despite this crowded field, the fact that Indian Australian writer Roanna Gonsalves’s debut collection of short stories Sunita De Souza Goes to Sydney And Other Stories, manages to stand out is a testament to the author’s mastery of her craft and the felicity of her language. This collection of sixteen meticulously crafted stories explores the displacement, disconnection and alienation experienced by Goans who migrated to Australia.

Simultaneously gut-wrenching and thought provoking, these stories probe the fractured lives of those who choose to move beyond the comfort of the familiar and carve out a home in an alien land.  Focused mostly on Goan Catholics, the stories trace their compulsive drive to escape their limited circumstances in India and their intersections with mainstream Australian society.

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