Part anthropological, part historical, Githa Hariharan’s writing takes readers across the globe, through history, and into dense political arenas. Her novels and nonfiction marry experience and intellect in sometimes biting, often lyrical prose. Whether she’s reshaping Shahrzad and The Arabian Nights or shedding light on censorship and fundamentalism, Hariharan’s stories are often led by femme fatales with political prowess. The promise of a bumpy ride continues in her memoir/travelogue, Almost Home: Finding a Place in the World from Kashmir to New York, published earlier this year by Restless Books.
A collection of essays, Almost Home is a wonderland of hybrid techniques. It contains post-colonial insight that goes beyond India and keeps readers coming back for more—more labyrinthine story lines, more social commentary, more pro-woman eroticism. Hariharan’s other popular titles include In Times of Siege, an exploration of religious censorship in literature and education in today’s India; When Dreams Travel, a work of haunting historical fiction with femme fatale protagonists; and Fugitive Histories, in which she explores social issues in modern India without catering to Western expectations.
Having broken a knee and ankle in an accident in Manhattan, she cut short a recent press trip for the U.S. release of Almost Home. We caught up while she was recuperating—and conducting activist duties—from her Delhi bed. Some of the topics up for grabs? Nationalism vs. patriotism, how far behind the US lags in international literature, and the American Presidential campaign.
Read the interview here in Ploughshares.