2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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The Masala Trois Collective (eds.), Desilicious (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2003)
I will say right now that it's possible my reaction to this book has something to do with the fact that it was marketed to me as a straight poetry anthology, leading me to almost immediate disappointment. I could have handled, even, a mostly-poetry anthology with some prose thrown in for good measure. Instead, it's the opposite. Quite a letdown.
Not that the short stories are bad, all of them. As is to be expected with any anthology, especially one with such a narrow focus as this (South Asian writers exploring sexual themes), there's a wide range of craft and artistic ability here, and that keeps the stories interesting, in its own odd way. However, ironically, also because of the exceptionally narrow focus, the stories quickly develop a sameness to them. Heterosexual, homosexual, male, female, one of the things you'll take away from the prose pieces in this book is that sexual awakening is, well, sexual awakening. As profoundly individual as it seems to each person, well, we tend to draw the same conclusions.
The poetry here is surprising-- for the most part because some of it is so very exceptional. A few of the poets in this anthology should have published single-poet collections with major presses long ago. The opening poet, Shompaballi Datta, is someone you need to know, because this woman is going places. Which makes it all the more depressing to come upon something like Salacious Sister's "Snake Poem," which should be taught in schools as an example of how not to write poetry:
"Colorful Goddess images on the wall
Inspire her to delve and deepen."
My heart bleeds for a generation that would call such a juxtaposition of vague, unpoetic words "poetry."
There is some good stuff here, but pick it up only if you feel like wading through a lot of swine to get to the pearls. **
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
"Desilicious" shows that despite the threat of excommunication, the tabooed subject of sexualities can be presented and debated in the South Asian community. Appreciation of such matters can be felt especially when one has been restricted because of opposition, especially due to a monolithic idea of moralistic identity. Day-to-day narratives also contain issues that a reader must have the discertion to appreciate. Good things do not come in blatant ways; noticing them in the ordinary show a critical eye.