Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Not just gay writing

The week I start making notes for this essay is the same week my mother is reading for the first time the manuscript for my short story collection, Quarantine...,” Rahul Mehta writes in an essay, “Coming Out”, just after the publication of this debut collection.

“What I didn’t say then was that I, in fact, don’t want (my parents) to read it. And now that my mother is, I am terrified. I am worried that she will object to the family stories I have stolen and altered and bent to suit my purposes. I am worried that she won’t understand what ‘fiction’ means, and that every time she reads a passage in which a young, gay Indian-American man is having sex (and there is, in fact, a fair amount of sex in the book), that she will think it is me: me having rough sex in an alley, me masturbating in the back of the family car, me having unprotected sex in a loft in New York with a one-night stand.”

More, almost, than the nine stories in Quarantine, this essay marks the pleasures and pitfalls of Rahul Mehta’s writing. This is one of the most surprising collections I’ve read in recent months: honest, spare, moving in the tenderness with which he chronicles the fault-lines and the epiphanies of relationships, but narrow in its scope and ambitions.

Full report here Business Standard

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