Mumbai: Unless you’re a literary buff who seeks out good non-fiction writing, especially essays were written by Indians, the chances of you having read something outside of school and college syllabi are low. Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, poet, writer, and critic, puts it rather bluntly: “We’ve certainly not paid as much attention to the essay as we should have. Actually, there’s a lack of historicity in the way we think and talk and write about Indian literature.”
And so, when you pick up “The Book of Indian Essays: Two Hundred Years of English Prose”, edited by Mehrotra, you find within the purview of the anthology the sparkle of academic intellect alongside humor, personal opinions and reflections that engage both the critical eye as well as a non-academic audience.
Throughout, the book moves at different levels, capturing not only stylish writing but also making sure that the reader is engaged with a wide variety of subjects that range from the sport of Jellicut to an exploration of Anglo Indians.