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Rohinton Mistry is the only author whose every novel has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Such a Long Journey (1991), A Fine Balance (1995) and Family Matters (2002) are all set in India's Parsee community. Recognised as one of the most important contemporary writers of postcolonial literature, Mistry's subtle yet powerful narratives engross general readers, excite critical acclaim and form staple elements of literature courses across the world. This study provides an insight into the key features of Mistry's work. It suggests how the author's writing can be read in terms of recent Indian political history, his native Zoroastrian culture and ethos, and the experience of migration, which now sees him living in Canada. The texts are viewed through the lens of diaspora and minority discourse theories to show how Mistry's writing is illustrative of marginal positions in relation to sanctioned national identities. In addition, Mistry utilises and blends the conventions of oral storytelling common to the Persian and South Asian traditions, with nods in the direction of the canonical figures of modern European literature, sometimes reworking and reinflecting their registers and preoccupations to create a distinctive voice redolent of the hybrid inheritance of Parsee culture and of the postcolonial predicament more generally.

Theorising the en-gendered nation

postcolonial literatures from 1947, are cast in a gendered mould. Nationalism, which has been so fundamental to the decolonisation process around the world, bears a clear mark for gender, and this gender marking, rather than being referred to a monolithic or transhistorical concept of patriarchy, can be explained as a specific historical development of power defined by sexual difference. To put it more plainly, this book submits that, without this marking for gender, it is well-nigh impossible to conceive of the modern nation. Whether we look at its iconography, its

in Stories of women
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Where postcolonialism is neo-orientalist – the cases of Sarojini Naidu and Arundhati Roy

from out there, promoted by their class position or other elitist structures, have been admitted to the city the better to ensure the efficiency of its monitoring. The question must then be, are there ways of cutting through this neocolonial and still masculinist bind in order to give the very real vitality and oppositionality of postcolonial literatures their due regard? It is evidently true that no cultural or academic interest in reversed values or subversive texts will of itself reverse hierarchies in the world, especially where these postcolonial interests

in Stories of women
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’ diagnosed as symptomatic of postcolonial literature by Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin in The Empire Writes Back, and cites as examples the ‘ironic continuation of certain stereotypes and clichés’, such as Rustomji’s lament for the passing of the British because of the disappearance of Johnnie Walker Scotch onto the black market, in ‘Auspicious Occasion’, and Kersi’s parents’ internalised ideas about the inferiority of Indians in ‘Lend Me Your Light’. Such conventions are reanimated, yet their validity is simultaneously problematised and undermined. Less convincing is the

in Rohinton Mistry
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a conversation with history sustained? In a metaphor which has become a byword for postcolonial literature, Caliban has taken the language of Prospero and inverted it, or reinvented it, for his own purposes. ‘We shall never explode Prospero’s old myth’, Lamming argues in The Pleasures of Exile , ‘until we christen Language afresh’. 76 To command the master’s language

in West Indian intellectuals in Britain
South Africa in the post-imperial metropole

and consumption of postcolonial literatures allow the English to reinvent their empire. The country is recentred as a sovereign international power; its capital is both cultural and financial. If the dominant features of Englishness, according to Paul Gilroy, are its xenophobia and paranoia, for Huggan it is corrosive paternalism that best describes this national disposition. Looking at its cultural relations with its former colonies, Huggan uncovers the ways that metropolitan Britain arrogates authority over them. Huggan tends however to rely on India to illustrate

in Postcolonial contraventions
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– Such a Long Journey (1991), A Fine Balance (1995), and Family Matters (2002), receive a host of literary prizes, and achieve recognition as one of the most important contemporary writers of postcolonial literature. Mistry draws his inspiration both from sharply recalled childhood experiences and from the upheavals of migration. However, as always with such intense and apparently personal narratives, the relationship between fiction and autobiography is hard to determine. Certainly there are overlaps between the events and life choices of the writer and some of his

in Rohinton Mistry
The structures of migration in Tales from Firozsha Baag

language, they say, ‘the most interesting feature of its use in postcolonial literature may be the way in which it also constructs difference, separation, and absence from the metropolitan norm’.13 Here this challenge gains an extra dimension as the norms of the colonial language, English, and the Gujarati of her employers, are contravened by Jaakaylee’s mix-and-match idiom. At first Jaakaylee’s reports of a ghost are dismissed by the Baag residents as the ramblings of an old woman from a backward part of the country where everyone believes in such things. However

in Rohinton Mistry