This book investigates fiction in English, written within, and published from India since 2000 in the genre of mythology-inspired fiction in doing so it introduces the term ‘Bharati Fantasy’. This volume is anchored in notions of the ‘weird’ and thus some time is spent understanding this term linguistically, historically (‘wyrd’) as well as philosophically and most significantly socio-culturally because ‘reception’ is a key theme to this book’s thesis. The book studies the interface of science, Hinduism and itihasa (a term often translated as ‘history’) within mythology-inspired fiction in English from India and these are specifically examined through the lens of two overarching interests: reader reception and the genre of weird fiction. The book considers Indian and non-Indian receptions to the body of mythology-inspired fiction, highlighting how English fiction from India has moved away from being identified as the traditional Indian postcolonial text. Furthermore, the book reveals broader findings in relation to identity and Indianness and India’s post-millennial society’s interest in portraying and projecting ideas of India through its ancient cultures, epic narratives and cultural (Hindu) figures.
"This insightful and timely book analyses for the first time material not seen in the West, which challenges and changes both our views of India and our view of the ‘Weird’."
Robert Eaglestone, Department of English, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
"Dawson’s book provides an accessible and comprehensive overview of the new literary genres of post-millennial Indian fiction. The days of the saree-novels, joint family sagas, and the grand narratives of the nation in Indian fictions are over. Instead the changing milieu of the post-liberalization India has spawned a host of new English fictions that venture into hitherto untrodden grounds of Science Fictions, Fantasies, Comics and Graphic Novels—the Weird Fictions. Through extensive surveys of recent publications, interviews, and an overview of the major themes and styles in the texts, Dawson’s book provides essential information and guidance to anyone interested in a fascinating world of new Indian fictions beyond the postcolonial novels."
Swaralipi Nandi, Department of English, Athens Technical College, USA
"Varughese’s book would prove significantly valuable to researchers who are looking to analyse forms of speculative fiction particularly with relevance to socio-political and cultural significance. Indeed, some academics whose interests lie in magic realism may find Varughese’s exploration of the conflict between genre fiction and the Indian idea of itihasa fascinating in terms of perceptive dissonance. Varughese’s book, summarily, provides an insight the emergence of sub-genres of fiction in India and the impact of India’s specific time-space, culture and tradition upon the emergence of new literatures."
Pete Walsh, Transnational Literature
"What makes Varughese’s analysis praiseworthy is her critical acumen in reading various formative theories of the ‘wyrd’ and discussing it through the dimension of Indian English genre fiction writing and the variety it offers. … Her book offers a fresh and significant contribution to analyzing this category within the context of Indian English writing, which for a very long time was sequestered only to the academic and high-brow categories of literary expression."
Sambuddha Jash, Univeristy of New Delhi, India
Chapter One: Introducing the post-millennial scene
Chapter Two: The ‘wyrd’: numinosity and estrangement
Chapter Three: Bharati Fantasy: eternal bhāva
Chapter Four: Bharati Fantasy: modern-day sensibilities
Chapter Five: Conclusions