By Anita Desai
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2011. 156 pgs. Fiction
The past is the original “artist of disappearance” in these three novellas. But other losses, other disappearances, permeate these stories, too. In each, the endeavor to preserve the past shadows the present. Who should save the museum in a remote village in India whose creators have vanished? Can an English translation of a work from a forgotten tongue hope to represent its original truth? Can the creation of beauty in the present redeem the losses of the past?
Anita Desai has constructed deceptively simple stories that evoke a pensive sorrow even as they subtly offer hope for the future. This short book is for the reader who is looking for fine writing and an opportunity for reflection.