Friday, Dec 09, 2022
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Swallowing Hurts

Swallowing Hurts

A promising life, cut short, is lived in spirit and connects narratives of other womanhoods

The night after a writer kills herself for reasons unknown to the world, her lover visits the cremation ground and takes away, from amid the emb­ers of her remains, the bone of her index finger. He keeps it as a remembrance, sealed in the false back of his almirah. The skeleton in the cupboard, literally. Until years later, when she finds release in the unlikely precincts of a spa and blith­ely glides into the lives and secrets of the women inhabiting Near the Nila, the resort by the rising river.

This is Anita Nair territory, her que­r­encia, her familiar world of women and their colliding destinies. Eating Wasps is redolent of one of Nair’s ear­liest novels, Ladies Coupe. It too had women sharing their life stories in the course of a long train journey. Eating Wasps follows a similar trajectory in laying bare the emotional scars, stre­ngths and vulnerabilities of women. But there’s a significant leap in the treatment, social context and language that Nair deploys as she sen­sitively tackles child sex abuse, acid attack, social media inroads, the acuity of feelings and vacuity of relationships.

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