Delhi-based author Geetanjali Shree on Thursday, 26 May, became the first Indian writer to win the International Booker Prize.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/The Booker Prizes)
“Anything worth doing transcends borders,” writes Indian author Geetanjali Shree in her Booker Prize winning novel Ret Samadhi.
Delhi-based Geetanjali Shree on Thursday, 26 May, became the first Indian writer to win the International Booker Prize. Her novel Ret Samadhi, translated into English as Tomb of Sand by Daisy Rockwell, is the first Hindi-language book to be shortlisted for the prestigious award.
Set in northern India, Tomb of Sand chronicles the journey of an 80-year-old woman, who after her husband’s death, slips into depression. During the course of the novel, the woman decides to visit Pakistan to confront the past that she left behind during the Partition.
Here's how several authors and critics have welcomed the 'ground-breaking' book.
Calling Shree’s work a “loose-limbed, free-floating, breezy sari-sprawl of a novel,” Indian author Nikhil Govind told The Wire,
Shree manages to capture love, loss, and bereavement with both distance and intimacy, empathy and a (rightfully) cultivated alienation, he says.
“Tomb of Sand captures this whirling beat of life as it equivocates between death and exuberance. Notwithstanding the ephemera the work so appealingly captures, the novel itself promises to endure,” said Govind.
Meanwhile, Delhi-based queer writer and journalist Saurabh Sharma told FirstPost that Tomb of Sand is a tale ‘which tells itself.’
Calling the fiction novel ‘groundbreaking,’ Sharma says,
While Sharma called the tale "part wholesome and part unbearable," Mini Kapoor writes in a review for The Hindu,
“While it may often appear that Shree is playing with words for the sake of word play, and that her digressions are asides, in the end nothing turns out to be self-indulgent or extraneous.”
Frank Wynne, the chair of the judges for this year’s prize, said in an online news conference that the book “overwhelmingly” beat the five other shortlisted novels and deserved the win.
He further said that Tomb of Sand is an “extraordinarily exuberant and incredibly playful book,” even though it deals with such topics of grief, loss and India’s partition from Pakistan.
Congratulatory messages poured in on social media for Shree and authors expressed happiness on her big win.
Literary translator Arunava Sinha congratulated the author and tweeted, "Yessss! Translator Daisy Rockwell and author Geetanjali Shree win the International Booker for 'Tomb of Sand' ('Ret Samadhi' in the original). A first win for a Hindi novel, an Indian novel, a south Asian novel. Congratulations!"
Meanwhile, the official Twitter handle of Sahitya Akademi wrote that the prestigious award is a big boost for literary translations in India.
The organisation tweeted, "Hearty congratulations to Geetanjali Shree ji and Daisy Rockwell for winning the International Booker Prize 2022. This is a big boost to the literary translations in India and 'Tomb of Sand' showcases the depth and richness of literature in various languages of India."
(With inputs from The Tribune, The Wire, and The Hindu.)