Craft and literary talent mean nothing without global insight, argues Kitaab’s Blogs Editor Rheea Mukherjee in this essay, her response to Jennifer Sinor’s One Hundred Days in India.
“As we exited the airport, we watched the slums of Mumbai unroll for miles in all directions. Each home, constructed from cardboard, tarps, and corrugated metal, held the other homes up, so they leaned like brothers in the sun.”
This inevitable brush with slum-romanticizing could be forgiven if the essay evolved into more textured passages. I can appreciate a perception of poverty as one layer, but then I expect other layers to fold and produce literary origami. What does good place writing do? I say It should say something about the larger world, collide cultures, shake them apart, ring out archaic notions, and soak the reader with an original perspective. ”One Hundred Days in India,” published in Brevity magazine, poetically describes memories in intimate scenes.