Of ‘Life’ in its Grand and Paltry Confusions
Ranjana Sengupta
WAYS OF BEING: CREATIVE NON-FICTION BY PAKISTANI WOMEN by Sabyn Javeri (Ed.) Women Unlimited, 2023, 193 pp., INR 450
August 2023, volume 47, No 8

Narrative non-fiction is a strange beast and one of its progenies, the personal essay, is relatively unknown in our part of the world. We tend to privilege the political in a broad sense—we produce much solid, not to say stolid, worthy analyses and investigation, but shy away, by and large, from the personal. When South Asian women write of their situations it will, more often than not, be in the terminology of patriarchy, or gender or sexual orientation. These fifteen essays by Pakistani-origin women in this collection,Ways of Being, break this mould. Ruminative, reflective, often very introspective, they are honest, thoughtful examinations of our present realities; of personal fates; of ‘Life’ in both its grand and paltry confusions.

Continue reading this review