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10 May 1990
Jasmine 
by Bharati Mukherjee.
Virago, 241 pp., £12.95, April 1990, 1 85381 061 4
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Meatless Days 
by Sara Suleri.
Collins, 186 pp., £12.95, April 1990, 0 00 215408 0
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... Jasmine is the novel which grew from a short story in BharatiMukherjee’s collection The Middleman. Meatless Days is the autobiography (though an unusually oblique one) of Sara Suleri, the daughter of a Welsh mother and the Pakistani editor and journalist Z.A. Suleri ...

Other People

Dinah Birch

6 July 1989
The Middleman, and Other Stories 
by Bharati Mukherjee.
Virago, 197 pp., £11.95, June 1989, 1 85381 058 4
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The Burning Boys 
by John Fuller.
Chatto, 128 pp., £10.95, June 1989, 9780701134648
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Termination Rock 
by Gillian Freeman.
Pandora, 182 pp., £12.95, June 1989, 0 04 440352 6
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Blackground 
by Joan Aiken.
Gollancz, 254 pp., £11.95, June 1989, 0 575 04502 7
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... people too seriously because they are, after all, unreal. Their mishaps can confirm our own sense of safety. No writer is less willing to permit the solace of these soothing reflections than BharatiMukherjee. The Middleman, and Other Stories, her forceful new collection, engages with a disturbing diversity of racial and cultural confrontations. Their shifting designs repeatedly juxtapose the cultural ...

Homo Narrator

Inga Clendinnen

16 March 2000
Mirror Talk: Genres of Crisis in Contemporary Autobiography 
by Susanna Egan.
North Carolina, 275 pp., £39.95, September 1999, 0 8078 4782 8
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... of all boundaries; where the self sees ‘the coming together of many “I”s, the self as embodying collective reality past and present, family and community’. (Egan is in fact quoting BharatiMukherjee here.) By contrast, I found her chapter on ‘Literary Pyrotechnics: Finding the Subject among the Smoke and the Mirrors’ which focuses on Breyten Breyten-bach’s Mouroir and the autobiographical ...

Prada Queen

Elaine Showalter: Shopping

10 August 2000
Shopping for Pleasure: Women in the Making of London’s West End 
by Erika Diane Rappaport.
Princeton, 323 pp., £21.95, January 2000, 0 691 04477 5
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... become sites of emancipation for many female immigrants. ‘In states such as New Jersey, malls have become the place of choice to meet for immigrant housewives with a sense of self,’ the novelist BharatiMukherjee observes. ‘Driving to the mall is itself an empowering adventure. Not to be at home, cooking for husband and children? Not to be ministering to husband’s mother? To be so selfish? Back ...

Get a Real Degree

Elif Batuman: Down with Creative Writing

23 September 2010
The Programme Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing 
by Mark McGurl.
Harvard, 480 pp., £25.95, April 2009, 978 0 674 03319 1
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... of writing what you know’.McGurl never quite articulates the law that enjoins some writers to write what they know and others to find their voices, but he comes close to it during a discussion of BharatiMukherjee’s essay ‘Immigrant Writing: Give Us Your Maximalists!’ (1988). Mukherjee, an Iowa graduate who writes about Bengali Americans, claims perspectival mobility ‘as the special property ...

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