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Prentiss Riddle

Well I, for one, do think that grouping authors by country is bizarro. You especially see that in the area of South Asian lit (a mailing list for which I've been the lazy-fair moderator lo these many years) where most of the best-known writers live and work outside their countries of origin. Is Michael Ondaatje Sri Lankan or Canadian? Is Bharati Mukherjee Indian or American (and was she briefly Canadian)? What about Anglo-Indians like Kipling? What about Ajay Sahgal, who I believe was born in the US and whose novel Pool had zero Indian content? And so on.

And yet -- there is an insight into these writers and into South Asia you can get by lumping them loosely together, with plenty of outliers and grey areas and multifaceted identities.

Ultimately I think it's not a problem of literature but something fundamental to human cognition. We've got a big old taxonomic hammer hard-wired into our brains and keep looking for nails.

jo

Prentiss! MY GOD! where have you been!

Prentiss Riddle

Hey, Jo, thanks for the shout out. Somehow "real" life has caught up with me in recent months and has sapped all my precious blogular fluids.

Seriously -- part of my day job now involves blog-like activity and I'm like the proverbial sex worker with no libido left at the end of the working day.

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