Book Review: In Words and Music, Glocal Imaginaries in the novels of Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth and Amit Chaudhuri, Author – Patrycja Austin
Posted by Priyankabatraharjai in Book Review, Thesis
Title: In Words and Music
Subtitle: Glocal Imaginaries in the novels of Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth and Amit Chaudhuri
Author: Patrycja Austin
Genre: Literary Criticism / General
English, today has become an important language binding various cultures and providing a platform for exchanging valuable cultural resources across continents. This is not a newly introduced norm. It started way back in early 1800s (in context with Indian culture) when the Britishers were eyeing India as their prospective target colony.
The experts have undergone and published numerous papers and theories in order to understand the evolution of the language across cultures. This thesis is an attempt by Patrycja to understand the glocal imaginaries penned in recent literatures from Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth and Amit Chaudhuri. She has handpicked their recent works and analyzed the works under the params of words, music and their glocal extent. She starts with an introduction of English as a post-colonial language, its intrusion and subsequent inclusion and then proceeds to its influence in music and then further raises the bar by extending it to a glocal perspective.
As India is experiencing a flood of writers writing in English, so is their development of their English-speaking characters. With globalization setting in with every passing year, more and more societal strata are accepting English as a language of communication. In some cases it has a partial influence while in some it has a stark influence. The author attempts to understand how far the language ‘English’ has seeped into the Indian literature.
For me, reading this thesis work was an enriching experience. Myself being a science post-graduate, I have read numerous scientific papers and worked on mine as well but sailing through a sea of words discussing literature was an awesome experience. I was introduced to book industry some seven years back and since then, I have read countless scripts for further actions (either publishing or rejections). I even learnt the art of reviewing scripts (technical and fiction both) but reading this work polished my understanding of the language and processing behind understanding language as a tool.
If I keep aside the literature experts, general people might perceive it to be a bit confusing initially but as the discussion proceeds, you will be swept away with its depth and coverage. Through the course of the book, she makes the readers understand how was English introduced into the Indian culture, how Indian writers reacted to the inclusion (their acceptance and opposition to the language) and the present date local formats which were transformed and secured place in daily communications and hence found place in today’s literatures. This study becomes interesting when she attempts to present a contrasting view using three Indian writers writing in English only. Writers write stories and to make it more influential they incorporate music through poetry within the text. She attempts to understand that aspect as well. At the final stage she attempts to understand the two variations – local and global perspectives of their novels.
Lastly, she concludes how the authors engage their readers through the influence of globalization in their characters. Her guiding aim behind this study was to identify how difficult it has become to separate the locals from the global perspectives. It was really interesting to learn how the three authors treat their characters which are exposed at a global level but remain tied to their roots at a local level – with a global appeal.
If you are tired of reading romantic fictional stories and Sci-fi thrillers, try this out. Your knowledge will rise and touch new horizons. In order to tread ahead in future, it is sometimes beneficial to peep into the past. Let’s come back home to conquer the world with Patryca Austin.