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Provincials: Postcards from the Peripheries

Provincials: Postcards from the Peripheries

By Sumana Roy

rom the acclaimed author of How I Became a Tree, an enchanting and joyous exploration of life and creativity at the geographical edges of the modern world “A striking mix of memoir and literary analysis. . .

Who is a provincial? In this subversive book, Sumana Roy assembles a striking cast of writers, artists, filmmakers, cricketers, tourist guides, English teachers, lovers and letter writers, private tutors and secret-keepers whose lives and work provide varied answers to that question. Combining memoir with the literary, sensory, and emotional history of an ignored people, she challenges the metropolitan’s dominance to reclaim the joyous dignity of provincial life, its tics and taunts, enthusiasms and tragicomedies.

In a wide-ranging series of “postcards” from the peripheries of India, Europe, America, and the Middle East, Roy brings us deep into the imaginative world of those who have carried their provinciality like a birthmark. Ranging from Rabindranath Tagore to William Shakespeare, John Clare to the Bhakti poets, T. S.Eliot to J. M. Coetzee, V.S. Naipaul to the Brontës, and Kishore Kumar to Annie Ernaux, she celebrates the provincials’ humor and hilarity, playfulness and irony, belatedness and instinct for carefree accidents and freedom. Her unprecedented account of provincial life offers an alternative portrait of our modern world.

Hardback book.
352 pages.

Published by Yale University Press.