Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sense of exile

The story comes into its own when the author explores an extra-marital affair between two men.

Ghalib Shiraz's Dhalla's book catches you unawares. Just when you are resigned to another — somewhat florid — account of the Great Indian Diaspora, it decides to throw a whammy, or two. Just when it is chugging along nicely like a cross between Brokeback Mountain with an Asian twist and a gay version of a Mills & Boon romance, it decides to introduce an altogether new dimension. In fact, The Exiles hits its stride somewhere in the middle of its rambling narrative; it comes into its own when the author explores an extra-marital fling between two queer men from the point of view of a wife who is not merely betrayed but straight!

Is the betrayal any greater, the book seems to be asking, because the husband's affair is with a man and not a woman? Would the wife's pain have been any less if the “other” had been a woman? And what of her inexplicable sense of shame? As though she is guilty and responsible for driving her husband away — that too, into the arms of a man? Could she have done something, said something to have prevented this? And what of their college-going son? How is a mother to protect her homophobic son from finding out that his father has not merely walked out on them, but has done so with his gay lover?

Full report here Hindu

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