Thursday, March 19, 2009

Comments on the Regional Winners by Dr. Alex Tickell, member of the Jury for Europe and South Asia of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, 2009.

Mohammed Hanif A Case of Exploding Mangoes.
A Case of Exploding Mangoes is a brilliant fictional dissection of power, history and political mythology in General Zia’s Pakistan. Hanif’s work explodes and re-assembles Zia’s dictatorship and in the process brilliantly evokes the public drama of postcolonial politics and the narrative possibilities of rumour and conspiracy. In a work that combines the satirical wit of Heller’s Catch-22 with the political focus of Márquez’s Autumn of the Patriarch, Hanif gives us a unique, culturally-situated insight into the eternal themes of hubris, corruption and absolute power.

Jhumpa Lahiri Unaccustomed Earth.
Lahiri’s wonderful collection Unaccustomed Earth affirms her as one of the most accomplished contemporary exponents of the short-story form. From a relatively limited palette (the minor dramas of middle-class Asian-American family life), Lahiri produces luminous, technically perfect miniatures that persist, like stubborn retinal images, in the mind’s eye. Lahiri’s sense of detail, the brevity of her prose, and her grasp of the complexities of cultural translation all fit together in a controlled, concentrated evocation of the South-Asian diaspora experience.

Dr Alex Tickell

Senior Lecturer in English

University of Portsmouth,

SSHLS, Milldam Building,

Burnaby Rd,

Portsmouth PO1 3AS



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