We kick off this new cycle of publishing with Dr. Chaandreyi Mukherjee’s book review of Alejandro Zambra’s “Chilean Poet” (Granta Books, 2022, translated by Megan McDowell). In this review, Mukherjee travels through Zambra’s text while contextualizing its importance within Chile’s history—with the necessary cultural and literary considerations that lend to the great value Zambra holds within Spanish American writing. The review succeeds in locating Zambra’s work within a larger heritage of Chilean poets and writers while also—and perhaps inadvertently—explaining the great allure of Zambra’s work for readers worldwide, including Dr. Mukherjee, whose enthusiasm is endearing to the need of such works being read far beyond their usual cultural and linguistic spaces—all the way from South Asian academic and literary circles.
“Nothing moved except the mirage”: Analysing Fear and Freedom in Adania Shibli’s Minor Detail — by Dr. Chaandreyi Mukherjee
Dr. Chaandreyi Mukherjee presents an academic paper that is also a book review for Palestinian author Adania Shibli’s 2020 novel, “Minor Detail” (New Directions). A finalist for the National Book Award, “Minor Detail” is one of the most relevant works of contemporary Palestinian literature that connects 1949 and the Nakba with present day Palestine—as its protagonist digs into the past to uncover horrific truths. Mukherjee’s response and writing on the novel and its many themes is essential to understanding the greater depth to be found in decades of Israeli occupation over Palestinian land and life. The academic not only includes relevant criticism within this piece but also integrates theoretical formulations and observations by various scholars and thinkers that are pertinent to her own readings, such that through her ‘book-review-as-academic-paper’ one gets access to entire bodies and fields of knowledge, from postcolonial theory to resistance literature. Just as “Minor Detail” tells the story of a people and their larger history by means of a protagonist, Dr. Mukherjee’s paper offers multiple vectors of understanding in order to facilitate incisive critical engagement with this recent work of Palestinian literature.
Dr. Chaandreyi Mukherjee reviews Zimbabwean writer Tsitsi Dangarembga’s critically acclaimed novel that was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in July 2020. The Mournable Body is the final novel in a trilogy by the novelist, playwright and filmmaker.