Literary Moonlighting : the cultural spaces of Shashi Tharoor


  • John Skinner



Literatura angloindia, Tharoor, Shashi, Literatura postcolonial, Conflicto cultural, Movimientos sociopolíticos


Shashi Tharoor is remarkable for a sequence of three fictions which subvert a number of paradigms commonly linked with postcolonial writing or the New Literatures in English, even as they transcend the boundaries of the classic realist novel. His first work, The Great Indian Novel (1989), while owing a literary debt to Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, may also be the most virtuoso reworking of an epic model -in this case, the Mahabharata- yet produced in English. His second novel, Show Business (1991), with its light-hearted satire of the Bollywood film industry, is also a more trenchant indictment of corruption in Indian public life. Riot (2001), finally, is a study of an East-West cultural clash against the backdrop of the communal disturbances following the destruction of the Ayodhya mosque in 1992. On the basis of brief analysis of all three novels, an attempt is made to position the author in cultural and literary terms. Tharoor’s personal standpoint is, however, more explicit than most contemporary writers’. A social and political ideology is clearly articulated in his important essay collection, India: From Midnight to the Millenium (1997), and this work is therefore read in close conjunction with the novels.


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How to Cite

Skinner, John. 2003. “Literary Moonlighting : The Cultural Spaces of Shashi Tharoor”. Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina De Estudios Ingleses, no. 16 (November):255-68.