Prufrock's Page

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Immigrant Voices

Tanuja Desai Hidier -- from whose young-adult book Born Confused the hapless Ms Vishwanathan is also alleged to have lifted passages -- ridicules notions that there are only a limited number of ways of talking and writing about immigrant culture:

"Some...people - hopefully a minority - seem to suggest there are only a handful of key ‘ethnic’ words or phrases (and ordering of these!) to use in describing important aspects of South Asian culture, such as food, dress, locales, etc.The implied conclusion being that the lack of originality in these instances in the Opal Mehta book is somehow less egregious, or at least more understandable, as a result."

In an intriguing aside, she adds: "I wonder sometimes about those lost pages: the story Ms. Viswanathan was originally writing before she joined forces with the publishing/packaging industry, the story that was a little too dark for their needs. What if those pages contained a truly fresh and honest voice? What if, had her pages fallen into different hands, they might have blossomed into a truly compelling tale, written by someone with significant literary potential?"


Post a Comment

<< Home