I’LL RETURN TO MADHAVI MENON’S Infinite Variety: A History of Desire in India again and again because it’s a book that defies, subverts and delights. It insists upon multiplicity and muddiness as part of our history, and within the current climate of rigidity it’s comforting to know that a more supple, textured past informed our desires and might return again.
I so enjoyed Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House—the prose is effortlessly classic, and I’m always a sucker for a novel where the house is a protagonist. PEN Pinter prizewinner Lemn Sissay’s memoir, My Name Is Why, eviscerated me. Sissay writes of his experience growing up within the foster care system in the UK, of racism and bullying and finding himself and his true identity. It’s also the story of how he came to be a poet and how that saved him, so I was crying and cheering all over the pages of this one. And finally, Marianne Boruch’s masterful poems in The Anti-Grief showed me what to do with the increasing gathering grief, offering windows of beauty and wonder.