Diasporic fiction and the non-diasporic
Diasporic fiction and the non-diasporic have a substantial difference. The one is born out of the feeling of a lost home; the other from the instability of a home within one’s own country. Literary writing emerges out of some kind of suffering or other; some natural sorrow, loss or pain to use Wordsworth’s words. The absence of a stable home is often the cause of creativity because the distressed mind tends to stop functioning after a point and the imagination takes over. A writer such as Jhumpa Lahiri cannot struggle out completely from the anguish that surrounds her diasporic existence in America. She never is entirely at home, there, or so her writings suggest. The same is true of Khaled Hosseini; his stories go away from America into the tragic situations in which the Afghan men and women find themselves. But his craving for his home-country is immense. Whereas Lahiri never forgets that she is part of a foreign culture in America, drowned in her nostalgia for India and Bengal, Hosseini does not allow America to play a direct role in his fiction. But both are brilliant story-tellers, writing out of their hybrid life experience.
On the other hand there is the literature that is written in one’s native country, where the problem of being a foreigner never comes in. When I think of my own writing I feel it is substantially different from the writings of authors like Lahiri and Hosseini. It does not have the anguish that a hybrid life in a foreign land offers; it has other kinds of anguish that give it shape. I return to comic situations recurrently in my fiction though in some of my stories the comic is discarded and there is a direct confrontation between my bare afflictions and my inability to handle them. INTRIGUING WOMEN is a collection of stories that emerge out of this phenomenon. They are sometimes an escape from the misery of nowhere to go. My stories take the reader away from the kind of experience that surrounds me where I live. They are set in Europe and Asia mainly, and rarely do they reflect the actual life I live on a daily basis. A writer of my kind often stretches his neck out to peep into the lives of people with the help of his imagination.