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Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
Outlook.com

Promise Of The Sun

When truth-telling is scarce, a book that ­catches the rhythm of violence ­becomes an important ­artefact to live by

Promise Of The Sun
Promise Of The Sun
outlookindia.com
2019-11-01T12:26:12+05:30

The national notion of time is one of linearity, a moving forward, a distance from the historical past that helps produce a coherent narration in aid of ­“nation-building”. But all of us know intimately, from the families we are born into, the communities we find ourselves belonging in, the stories we inherit and through the bodies we possess: that the past always ­intrudes into the present. Our sense of time, what we feel on our skin, is experientially cyclical: a rumbling, repetitive sadness, with an intensification of pain around every octave that echoes and recalls a past moment. There lingers a disorienting gap between the two kinds of time, a cognitive gap. Is it indissoluble? How do we bridge it?

Words. Stories. The other day, reading Manreet Sodhi Someshwar’s new novel, The Radiance of a Thousand Suns, one felt this real journey. A series of epochal ruptures, writ on our bodies through the everydayness of violence against women, persisting across generations. Yes, women: the often-­unre­cor­ded part of history. The book’s remarkable female characters are its most endearing gift to the reader. For the most part, it’s a formidable narrative testimony to our lived experiences of mass atrocities and collective trauma, threaded through the legends of Heer and Mahabharata—her prose powerful and shattering, as it scans vexed afterlives wrenched apart as well as those who survive and strive to do what is right. But it is by privileging women’s voices, their stories of loss, grief, trauma, resilience, humour as well as their silence, that Manreet subverts the...

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