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These, Our Bodies, Possessed by Light
Dharini Bhaskar

Classification : General & Literary Fiction
Pub Date : Jul 25, 2021
Imprint : Hachette India
Page Extent : 336
Binding : PB
ISBN : 9789391028138
Price : 499

About the book

'Maybe all of us are no more than Venn diagrams – our personal biographies and those of our relations colliding to create the teardrop of our selves.'

Until now, Deeya has found an unquiet contentment in the memories of her affair with an older man in a spare but tolerable marriage. Then, Neil comes into her life, offering a heady romance and a new identity. Will Deeya give their fledgling relationship a chance?

Perhaps the seeds of her answer have already been sown by her family – by her grandmother and mother, both of whom have been compelled to make complex negotiations with love.

As Deeya confronts their stories, she must decide: Will she upend her family's history and build a narrative of her own? Or is she – as are all of us – destined to carry forward the concessions and mutinies of our ancestors?

Refreshing in its vision and assured in its craft, These, Our Bodies, Possessed by Light is a remarkable debut about (un)sanctioned memory, uncommon love, and the claims of familial history.


Read Review   Want to write a review?
These, Our Bodies, Possessed by Light is distinct for the sheer force of its poetry and central characters nursing their thwarted lives and loves.
These, Our Bodies, Possessed by Light. . . functions at the same level as poetry: it has moments of insight about love and marriage peeking through a larger narrative of loss and grief, of myths and the telling and retelling of destinies.' – Free Press Journal
Bhaskar [manages] to dexterously meld word with image, sentiment with philosophical insight, timeless myths with modern angst, and tell a deeply personal story with universal echoes.' – Open
These, Our Bodies, Possessed by Light is a book of women in love. Not with men, not with women, not even with their families. But with the tumultuous relationships they have with themselves. The stories that have brought them up and the stories they construct for their futures. The stories they keep on changing to transform from mere bodies into those that are possessed by light.' – Scroll
Just as Shahryar's silent absorption [in The Arabian Nights] was a sign of the interior monologue that Scheherazade's storytelling triggered in him – the precursor to a changed mind – the reader of [Bhaskar's] novel is drawn in by the precise, seamless layering, the ease with which poetry, myth and philosophical insights are blended with personal stories. Skillful telling, this. Not just craft but witchcraft.' – New Indian Express
The writer is a wordsmith, her idiom and imagery are the twin protagonists. . . It is said of Richard Siken's poetry that "he effectively juxtaposes holy images with mundane images – making them both seem beautiful by some strange lyrical alchemy". The description fits Bhaskar's writing too. These, Our Bodies, Possessed by Light is an evocative story eloquently told.' – Hindustan Times
An unconventional family of women illuminate this lyrically unfolding narrative. Juxtaposing styles deftly, poetry, film and art, build a vivid montage that memorably takes one on a magical deep dive into the circumstances and choices made in their lives, across geographies and generations.' – JCB jury comments
The novel jump-cuts from a village in South India with a large family to a pub in England and a photographer of overage retired ships. But the narrative is seamless and written with a verve and passion that could be the envy of other novelists. An unforgettable read, dotted with pensive moments and uncertainties.' – Keki N. Daruwalla, poet and author of The Keeper of the Dead and Love across the Salt Desert
Dharini Bhaskar's first novel is a beautifully structured exploration of a Tamil family that comes to settle in Mumbai. Their world is presented through the experiences of five women: three sisters, their mother, and their grandmother. The action moves beyond Mumbai, to Delhi, Norway, and the US. The men in their lives arrive like magical driftwood, strike against them, drift away. Some manage to stay put. Weaving all of this into a dense emotional tapestry is an undercurrent of legend and mythology. A first book, a fine achievement, truly an auspicious beginning!' – Gieve Patel, poet and artist, author of Mirrored, Mirroring
Dharini Bhaskar's writing has the muscles of light – in her first novel she takes us to places that we haven't seen before, places left invisible by life and literature. In this deeply moving novel, we encounter a family of women related by the inheritance of confusion – there were times I found my hand touching their names on the page, as if reaching out to hold them, to tell them that we were there, their relatives, waiting outside the novel. I think I understand the punctuations of my pain better after reading this book.' – Sumana Roy, author of How I Became a Tree and Missing
In her masterful debut, Dharini Bhaskar gives us a young woman hovering at a crossroads in her life – and before she chooses, she must first consider the lives and loves of the women who came before her and whose choices both bind her and set her free. With a poet's easy grace with language and a philosopher's comfort with ambiguity, she traces how each one of us contains multitudes – and shows us, in a way we can never forget, how family is both the greatest fact and fiction of all.' – Chandrahas Choudhury, author of Arzee the Dwarf and Clouds
Bhaskar [manages] to dexterously meld word with image, sentiment with philosophical insight, timeless myths with modern angst, and tell a deeply personal story with universal echoes.' – Open
'These, Our Bodies, Possessed by Light is a book of women in love. Not with men, not with women, not even with their families. But with the tumultuous relationships they have with themselves. The stories that have brought them up and the stories they construct for their futures. The stories they keep on changing to transform from mere bodies into those that are possessed by light.' – Scroll
'Just as Shahryar's silent absorption [in The Arabian Nights] was a sign of the interior monologue that Scheherazade's storytelling triggered in him – the precursor to a changed mind – the reader of [Bhaskar's] novel is drawn in by the precise, seamless layering, the ease with which poetry, myth and philosophical insights are blended with personal stories. Skillful telling, this. Not just craft but witchcraft.' – New Indian Express
     
Dharini Bhaskar
Born in Bombay, Dharini Bhaskar has at various points also called Britain, Greece and Delhi home. Dharini was the former editorial director of Simon and Schuster India and was one of five young Indian...(+)
Books by Dharini Bhaskar
These, Our Bodies, Possessed By Light (HB)