In Feroza Jussawalla’s English 479 class, which is a survey of Postcolonial literatures and theories emanating from the Indian subcontinent, Africa and other countries recently independent from the British Empire, Rasana Atreya, author of several Eastern Fiction novels, will be discussing her book, Tell a Thousand Lies via Skype. Tell a Thousand Lies, which is shortlisted for the 2012 Tibor Jones South Asia prize, is a novel that explores the intricate weavings of an Indian family from the perspective of fraternal twins, Pullamma and Lata. In a land where skin color can determine one’s destiny, these fraternal twins embark on a journey that shape their futures in ways neither of them could have foreseen.
Dark-skinned Pullamma dreams of being a wife. With three girls in her family, the sixteen-year-old is aware there isn’t enough dowry to secure suitable husbands for them all. But a girl can hope. She is well versed in cooking, pickle making, cow washing, the list goes on and on — while academics are less of her strengths. Meanwhile, her twin sister, Lata, fair-skinned and alluring, would rather study medicine than get married. Unable to grasp the depth of Lata’s desire, the twins’ Grandmother formalizes a wedding alliance for Lata. Distraught, Lata rebels, but not without devastating consequences.
A mainstream, multi-ethnic, world literature book from India, Tell a Thousand Lies is a sometimes wry, sometimes sad, but ultimately realistic look at how superstition and the colour of a girl’s skin rules India’s hinterlands.
Rasana Atreya will discuss her novel on Monday, March 6th at 11 AM in Mitchell Hall 121, and Jussawalla is opening up the class for all interesting in joining in on the discussion and hearing Atreya speak on her captivating novel.