IIAS Publications Series Monographs

South Asian Partition Fiction in English: From Khushwant Singh to Amitav Ghosh

Rituparna Roy

South Asian Partition Fiction in English: From Khushwant Singh to Amitav Ghosh explores a significant cross-section of South Asian fiction in English written on the theme of Partition from the mid-1950s to the late 1980s, and shows how the Partition novel in English traverses a very interesting trajectory during this period – from just ‘reporting’ the cataclysmic event to theorizing about it.
The six novels selected for study (Train to Pakistan, A Bend in the Ganges, Ice-Candy-Man, Clear Light of Day, Midnight’s Children, and The Shadow Lines) show that, essentially, three factors shape the contours and determine the thrust of the narratives – the time in which the novelists are writing; the value they attach to women as subjects of this traumatic history; and the way they perceive the concept of the nation.

“By a fresh reading of six novels that are representative of the various perspectives on the Partition of the subcontinent, and placing them in a larger historical and literary context, dr. Roy’s book fills an important lacuna in current criticism, and does it convincingly.”
— Peter Liebregts, Professor of Modern Literatures in English, Leiden

“In this thoughtful and thoroughly readable book, Rituparna Roy looks at fictional representations of the cataclysmic birth-pangs of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and indicates how literary envisionings mesh in with reportage, historiography, nationhood, femininity and personal identity.”
— Subir Dhar, Professor of English Literature, Rabindra Bharati University
(RBU), Kolkata

Rituparna Roy taught English Literature for several years at Basantidevi College, affiliated under the University of Calcutta. She is currently a Fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) at Amsterdam, where she is working on an independent post-doctoral project.