South Asian Short Fiction Analysis

Expatriate South Asians

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Other writers left the subcontinent, some for political reasons or for professional advancement, others because, as Salman Rushdie notes in his introduction to Mirrorwork: Fifty Years of Indian Writing, 1947-1997 (1997), many of them are wanderers by nature. Among those who took up residence in the United States were Anjana Appachana, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Bharati Mukherjee, and Padma Perera. Rohinton Mistry moved to Canada, while Attia Hosain and Salman Rushdie settled in England. Some had more than one home. Anita Desai divided her time between England and the United States; Vikram Chandra lived both in Washington, D.C., and his native Bombay; and after 1975 Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and her husband were commuting between New York and New Delhi.

As Rushdie points out, if one applied a residence test to writers, Ernest Hemingway and Henry James might not be considered American; Graham Greene, English; or James Joyce, Irish. The writers discussed in this essay are classified as South Asians because they all draw upon their experience of the Indian subcontinent for the characters, settings, and themes of their short fiction.