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Almost Home: Finding a Place in the World from Kashmir to New York

Almost Home

Githa Hariharan, an Indian author and editor based in New Delhi, is known for her writings. Born in Coimbatore, and brought up in Mumbai and Manila, Githa pursued a BA (in English) from University of Mumbai and a MA (in Communications) from the Fairfield University. She first worked in the Public Broadcasting System in New York. Then, she worked with a publishing firm as an editor in India. Currently, she works as a freelance editor. She, along with her husband, has won the right to have the children named after her (instead of carrying the father’s name). This famous case was argued by Indira Jaising, and the Supreme Court agreed that the mother was also a “natural guardian” of the child.

She is versatile in writing and writes on varied topics. She has won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 1993. Her first novel, “The Thousand Faces of Night” talks about the problems of women, linked with Indian Mythology. The dilemma of her female characters tangled with the Indian myths as Mahabaratha to the gods, goddesses and legendary heroines establishing patriarchal concepts perfectly weaving all these elements. On the other hand, “When Dreams Travel,” begins from the point where “The Arabian Nights” left off and the author suggests what could have possibly happened to the lead characters.

In “Almost Home: Finding a Place in the World from Kashmir to New York,” the author talks about the bumpy road of life. It is an anthology of essays, covering post-colonial perspective with complex story lines. It is more society based, pro-women and women-eroticism. This book talks about the resemblance, commonness or the similarities that a Southern India’s city has with Washington D.C; and envisioning the craving for freedom that Kashmiris have, along with pondering upon who does Delhi belongs to? While treading through the cities, and through the writings, she tries to come to a conclusion about what makes any village, city, or country, a home. She travels through the time, exploring and experiencing the history and evolution of different places, and learns about the people who have shaped the culture of the place.

The author blends recollection of the beauties of the place, cultural analysis, and history to create interesting stories about the places around the world. Starting from Delhi, Mumbai, and Kashmir to Palestine, Algeria, and 11th century Córdoba; and from Tokyo, to New York and Washington, the author brings in shine in each story and narration.

While narrating, she also plunges in to the traces of colonization and nation-building, paucity and warfare, human rights, and the daily fight for survival. Almost Home presents a new and different kind of travel writing, which stitches all the elements of identity of the place with its intellectual thread, and adventurous spirit. She makes the readers discover and connect with the surprising connections of the places that she visits with her own sense of feeling home.

Book Review

By: Githa Hariharan

Publisher: Fourth Estate; 1 edition (8 July 2015)

Availability: Amazon India      

Price: INR 2057 (Paperback)