Over at the New York Times, “Must a book review take the form of prose — or can it be pure image? For this first art-themed issue of the Book Review, five pathbreaking contemporary artists create visual works of literary criticism, paying homage to the inspiration they’ve found in fiction, philosophy and poetry.”
Wangechi Mutu on “The God of Small Things” by Arundhati Roy
I read Arundhati Roy’s “The God of Small Things” many, many years ago, at a time when I was considering the idea of what home meant to me. I’d been away from home for over a decade, and yet wasn’t used to being away, was deeply homesick, missing my birth home and rethinking what family meant. I was completing my M.F.A. in sculpture at Yale University and was thinking about belonging, transience and sacrifice. I found myself working through the very large imprint made on my psyche by this book: a story of a family in India that reads like a metaphor for the entire dysfunction and history of a country. Through this, I began to piece together personal narratives to reflect larger stories about a people and their trauma. This book helped me reflect on how important the personal experience is in describing the shared, and even the universal.