Ruminations on the Not-So-Reluctant Renegade

Review stock photoThis post is in response to an article in the NY Times written by Siddhartha Deb; Arundhati Roy, the Not-So-Reluctant Renegade.

Deb delineates between Arundhati Roy as a writer of fiction and a political activist. Roy herself remarks that: “The ways in which I have thought politically, the proteins of that have to be broken down and forgotten about, until it comes out as the sweat on your skin.” To my mind she means that the story is paramount and that any political meaning one can derive from a story must arise organically rather than being consciously imposed. I wonder if she has considered the opposite, that her skill as a fiction writer may influence her political activism. I say this as I bear in mind the quote from George Bernard Shaw, “Some look at things that are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?” For those who must commit their lives to a cause, who give their time to make the world a better place, what sustains them? I would argue perhaps it is this power of imagination, the ability to dream a fiction that yet may be. Deb seems to posit that Roy holds two separate and, at times, conflicting roles of fiction writer and political activist. I tend to believe that these are not two separate, distinct aspects of Roy but rather they form a symbiotic relationship that strengthen and nourish one another.

(Ciaran Tolan)

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