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Being Filthy Poor in Rising Asia: Precarity, Globalization, and the Evolution of Indian Literature

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Neelam Srivastava


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This essay considers the new South Asian novels of the twenty-first century as autobiographical fictions of precarity. They present themselves on the world literary market as a form of writing that has globalizing aspirations. When compared to the Indian English novel of the 1980s and 90s, influential literary narratives of inequality, peril, life uncertainty and oppression in India have changed almost beyond recognition and have proliferated into a variety of forms that relate the rapidly transforming socio-economic conditions in the subcontinent. Precarity fictions of the kind we find in Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger (2008) and Mohsin Hamid’s How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (2013) challenge the canonical forms of the Indian postcolonial novel as it came to prominence in the late twentieth century and offer an intriguing intertextuality with popular genres such as the self-help book and print culture formats that can be more commonly found in the secondhand bookstalls of South Asian urban markets than in university libraries.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Srivastava N

Editor(s): Om Dwivedi and Dieter Riemenschneider

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: In Press

Book Title: Representations of Precarity in South Asia

Year: 2021

Acceptance date: 09/04/2020

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Place Published: London


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