jo's Reviews > Quarantine: Stories

Quarantine by Rahul Mehta
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's review
Jun 05, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: 4class, queer, short-stories, south-asian-diaspora
Read from June 14 to 17, 2012

taken one at a time, these stories are nicely constructed and even, on occasion, truly powerful. taken as a collection, this book is unfortunately repetitive. it seems that some of the same themes get repeated over and over. in most of the stories the protagonist is an indian-american gay man with a white boyfriend. while the white boyfriend is generally rather nice, the indian-american guy is dislocated, unhappy, frustrated, and in a funk. since this happens over and over, after a bit one gets the gist.

also, indian families in this book really, really don't like their elderly. some very painful stories about this. probably, in fact, the most compelling. not a happy read.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by L (new)

L What I see here is that the stories, while repetitive, give a counter to the stereotype re family. Very interesting.

message 2: by jo (last edited Jul 03, 2012 06:34AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

jo well, it depends on what stereotype you have about indian families. the introduction of the (accepted) gay son is definitely a stereotype breaker, but there are many ways in which the stereotype is confirmed and questioned at the same time. this is something i've seen before in indian-diaspora literature: a strong desire to preserve the notion of home and the homeland, and a terrible difficulty in doing so. also, loads of unhappiness with/in the western world (america in particular?). Jhumpa Lahiri does this masterfully, especially in her second short story collection. and if you haven't read Monica Ali's Brick Lane i wholeheartedly recommend it.

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