The Author as Digger: The Gypsy Goddess and the Strata of History

Part of the New Comparisons in World Literature book series (NCWL)


Meena Kandasamy’s 2014 novel The Gypsy Goddess offers a highly reflexive narration of the Kilvenmani massacre: the brutal repression of agricultural labourers on strike in South India, December 1968. The novel does not provide a linear account of the events, but rather interrogates the very act of representing such historical reality in fictional form. Accordingly, Kandasamy’s text articulates a non-synchronous aesthetic whereby the chronological order of things is replaced by a stratigraphic process: the novelist is reimagined as a digger excavating overlapping grounds of history and reassembling them in a metafictional, multidimensional narrative composition. The anti-chronological aesthetic adopted by Kandasamy, however, does not end up in a postmodern fragmentation of the story of Kilvenmani. On the contrary, the novelist’s play with time emerges as a mirroring of objective conditions of peripheral capitalism in the narrative dialectic of story and history.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Liverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK

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