Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Book Review: Journeys in the Night

This is a collection of life stories of those who are affected by AIDS. Sixteen of the best-known authors of India come together and create this anthology with a common goal of exploring the hidden world affected by the epidemic.

It starts with Nikita Lalwani meeting up with a doctor who is HIV positive but his positive attitude towards life has kept him alive. Kiran Desai goes to open fields of Godavari and opens up the world of highly paid sex workers who are in this profession from many generations and those poor ones who can barely earn a living out of this act. Jaspreet Singh telling ghost stories to the children affected by the epidemic in a HIV positive care home for children easily melts your heart. Salman Rushdie explores the world of Hijras and prefers to call them Ardhanarishwar, I too wonder why not. William Dalrymple meets up with the daughters of Yellamma to hear their stories and so on goes every author going to all corners of India and lending the deceased an ear and bringing us their life stories.

Icing on cake is, there is Introduction by Bill and Melinda Gates and Foreword by Amartya Sen.

This wonderful anthology is the result of Gates Foundation approaching Random House in creating a tradition of literary journalism for a social cause.