Claudia Hyles

The deadline for this review was 15 August, India’s Independence Day, freedom at midnight in 1947 for India and Pakistan (whose independence is celebrated on 14 August). The British euphemistically called it a ‘transfer of power’. The subsequent division was termed Partition, an anodyne definition of the act of severing ...

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Claudia Hyles reviews 'Ruins' by Rajith Savanadasa

Claudia Hyles
Friday, 23 September 2016

Ruins is the impressive début novel of Rajith Savanadasa, born in Sri Lanka and now living in Melbourne. He is founder and primary contributor to Open City Stories, a website ...

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Claudia Hyles reviews 'Flood of Fire' by Amitav Ghosh

Claudia Hyles
Friday, 27 November 2015

Amitav Ghosh has spent more than ten years writing the Ibis trilogy, his fictional account of the turbulent years leading to the First Opium War of 1839–42. Flood of Fire follows Sea of Poppies (2008) and River of Smoke (2011). It is unnecessary to have read the earlier books, though reuniting with some of the characters is enjo ...

Claudia Hyles reviews 'The Island of Singing Fish' by Tina Faulk

Claudia Hyles
Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Two government acts shaped Tina Faulk’s life: Ceylon’s 1956 Official Language Policy Act, known as the Sinhala Only Act, and Australia’s Immigration Restriction Act of 1901, better known as the White Australia policy. The first virtually disenfranchised not only Faulk’s Burgher community, but also Sinhalese and Tamil middle-class élites, whose primary langu ...

Claudia Hyles reviews 'A God in Every Stone' by Kamila Shamsie

Claudia Hyles
Tuesday, 25 November 2014

In 515 bce, Scylax, explorer and storyteller, sets sail from Caspatyrus in King Darius’s empire. Eclipsing time, this antique glimpse shifts to an archaeological dig in Turkey in 1914, one that is abandoned when war breaks out.In the service of ‘king and country’, lives change immeasurably. Vivian Rose Spencer exc ...

Claudia Hyles reviews 'The Memory of Salt' by Alice Melike Ülgezer

Claudia Hyles
Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Alice Melike Ülgezer’s début novel is both exotic and familiar: a story of journeys, physical and philosophical, of a family with its roots in Istanbul and Melbourne. The first of these is a short ferry crossing of the Bosporus taken by Ali, a young woman (or is she a young man? gender seems immaterial here) from Melbourne who is in Istanbul to visit her father ...

This year’s Jaipur Literature Festival (20–24 January) more than lived up to the Indian Ministry of Tourism’s slogan – ‘Incredible India’.

The festival was established in 2006 as a component of the Jaipur Virasat (Heritage) Festival, an arts event intended to showcase the varied and colourful Rajasthani culture. Performances of classical music and dance were held in the fore ...

Claudia Hyles reviews 'To Silence' by Subhash Jaireth

Claudia Hyles
Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The voices of Subhash Jaireth’s three fictional autobiographies within To Silence are those of historical figures. Kabir (1440–1518) was a mystic poet associated with the reformist Bhakti or Devotional Movement in medieval India. An illiterate weaver, he rejected idolatry and caste, and his principally Hindu philosophy showed significant Islamic influence. Maria Chekhova (1863–19 ...