Family Fictions and World Making: Irish and Indian Women’s Writing in the Contemporary Era is the first book-length comparative study of family novels from Ireland and India. On the one hand, despite an early as well as late colonial experience, Ireland is often viewed exclusively within a metropolitan British and Europe-centered frame. India, on the other hand, once seen as a model of decolonization for the non-Western world, has witnessed a crisis of democracy in recent years. This book charts the idea of "world making" through the fraught itineraries of the Irish and the Indian family novel. The novels discussed in the book foreground kinship based on ideological rather than biological ties and recast the family as a nucleus of interests across national borders. The book considers the work of critically acclaimed women authors Anne Enright, Elizabeth Bowen, Mahasweta Devi, Jennifer Johnston, Kiran Desai and Molly Keane. These writers are explored as representative voices for the interwar years, the late-modern period, and the globalization era. They not only push back against the male nationalist idiom of the family but also successfully interrogate family fiction as a supposedly private genre. The broad timeframe of Family Fictions and World Making from the interwar period to the globalization era initiates a dialogue between the early and the current debates around core and periphery in postcolonial literature.
Table of Contents
- Marriage and the Big House: Elizabeth Bowen and Molly Keane
- Youth and the Bildungsroman: Mahasweta Devi and Jennifer Johnston
- Globalization and Fiction: Kiran Desai
- The Celtic Tiger Novel: Anne Enright
Sreya Chatterjee is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Houston. She specializes in global Anglophone, postcolonial literatures, and women’s writing with emphasis on core-periphery relationships in women’s fiction from Ireland and India. She has published on diverse topics such as Dalit autobiography in Comparative Literature Studies (2016), and representations of Naxalism in literature in Setu (2017). Most recently, her essay on the Irish playwright Brian Friel appeared in History, Imperialism, Critique: New Essays in World Literature (Routledge, 2018).
"A detailed and incisive exploration of the ways that gender complicates our understanding of peripheral modernity, Sreya Chatterjee’s portrait of Irish and Indian women’s writing in the contemporary era vividly captures literature’s role in exposing the social contradictions of our times. Bringing together approaches to world literature, combined and uneven development, and feminist criticism, Family Fictions and World Making renews the prospects for a materialist feminism attuned to the entwinement of public and private, selfhood and sociality, as well as labor and capital." Keya Ganguly, University of Minnesota