‘Skeena’ brings fever to the mind

Skeena is not the book you can put away politely, Skeena is that book of words you either keep close at hand, or THROW AWAY.

By Rajkumari Fehmida

Hmmmm… i am thoughtful at the moment. I am here. I have read ‘Skeena’, and i will make my children read that book. It is a simple novel, yet the control of vision with which it targets the literary nuance speaks to the condition of clarity.

It is an issue-oriented book. The form is simple, the content is not. Here, we question the old question: does form follow function? Yes (for Skeena). Edward Said used to say that post-modernism confuses the questions we ought to ask about conditions of colonialism. It is important when we write of issues, that the language we use is implied for the audience that is targeted. (of course, by tradition writers can do as they please, and use their literary license to question the language in another way). However, i have more of a Saidian perspective at the moment about the ways in which language ‘ought’ to be handled. ‘Skeena’ is written in the simplest language possible, but the ‘meaning’ it generates (part of the content) is contextually so large and big, that the readers must respond to it in their own different ways.

The ‘function’ (of Skeena) is to stimulate our minds, and to bring us out of the comfort we attach with speaking about women’s issues in an Islamic state, and in the western state(s), and the book makes us do that by remaining simple and transparent ‘in form’. You know who asks the best questions about life in a group of people? The children. Their questions are simple, direct, and short. They don’t tease you, they demand clarity. That’s all (that is why they enrage us so much!)

I was reminded of Marx at the end of my reading: there is nothing to lose but your chains.

At the moment, i can tell you that Skeena brings fever to the mind. Skeena is not the book you can put away politely, Skeena is that book of words you either keep close at hand, or THROW AWAY. So what if it angers someone? If this is not what literature should do, then what else? And i set up demarcation line between literature and kitsch.


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