Book Review: Babyji by Abha Dawesar

This book was recommended by someone who knows I like reading about the East Indian diaspora. But this book completely changed everything I knew about South Asian culture. This is an extremely well written and an easy to read novel. All the characters are very intriguing until the very end. It is not only captivating, but but breaks the rules of discussing taboo issues, particularly homosexuality, by talking about them in a matter of factly manner. The story is told in the first person by the protagonist Anamika, a teenaged physics geek who has more than come to terms with her lesbianism. She is having affairs with three females - a trusted servant, a gorgeous older woman, and a gullible schoolmate - simultaneously.

It is refreshing to read a book because there is so little discussion about homosexuality in the Global South. When it is discussed, it is only discussed as being a "White Man's Disease" and thus stigmatized. When the film Fire, a story about two Indian housewives falling in love, was released a few years ago, religious extremists tried to vandalize the theatres it was shown in. So, the fact that this book has been well reviewed in many Indian publications maybe shows a slight shift on this taboo issue.

I also enjoyed how the author introduced the caste issue. There is a growing movement to break down this archane class structure that didn't just start with Arundhati Roy's God of Small Things.

This is a great book and I look forward to Dawesar's future books!
Check out her website: http://www.abhadawesar.com


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