‘From An-Other Land’ by Tanushree Ghosh: A Review

January 25, 2019 Book Reviews , POETRY / FICTION

Jurek Durczak photo

 

By

Kirthi Jayakumar

 

 

Growing up in India amidst cousins who lived in the United States, I was often treated to the “fun” and “cool side” of “America”: a land of “foreign chocolates” and “fancy toys.” My cousins would visit for pocketfuls of time here and there each year, their American accents getting thicker with every visit. I would see the good side of their lives and think of the US as a paradise where everything was in perfect order. It didn’t help that this one-dimensional view was also buttressed with generous viewings of American sit-coms that made America about one thing: the white life.

 

With time, I would come to understand that a slice of America is much more than the white identity that was easily associated with the country as the “norm.” I would come to understand that the entire nation was built on narratives of immigrants: some that came and claimed what natives had, as their own, and some who came after that, to chase the “Great American Dream.”

 

But what most stories of these dream-card holders don’t tell you is the emotional ethos underlying it. Stories of journeys through time also involve packing many years of milestones into short nuggets of information that knock emotion, struggle, and pain into compact words that don’t do justice to the weight and time they take up when they last. Tanushree Ghosh Dhall puts the weight and time back into those words through her book, “From An-Other Land.

 

A powerful window into the world of immigrants’ lives in America, Tanushree’s range of immigrants are everyday people. They are people you relate to, people you run into, people you see through the masks they wear on screen, people you see in their raw candour and reality on social media and off it. Tanushree does a thorough job of presenting these narratives to you without making a decision for you on what side of the fence to sit on: she spends time acknowledging that fence and telling you to do so, as well.

 

Some stories shake you up: like when you hear of a woman marrying her brother-in-law so that she and her husband could get their visas. Some stories are fantastic metaphors that stay with you long after you’ve finished reading the book. And through all of this, Tanushree paints very vivid realities: something that’s perfectly, regularly “normal” in one part of the world is a bolt out of the blue in another. Some things may seem commonplace, where you think that the two people in this story could be anywhere in the world: but that’s the power of this book, indeed – because migration could take you straight out of home and put you anywhere else that is not home.

 

Tanushree asks you many, many questions that leave you feeling choked with emotion: what is memory? what is your insecurity and how is it different from mine?, are the lines drawn on a map all it takes to tell you where home is?, where is home, and what is it, after all?

 

From An-Other Land is more than a mere collection of stories about a socio-political issue. It is a palette of human emotion and humane narratives in raw, unabashed reality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From An-Other Land‘ is published by Readomania and can also be purchased here

 

 

 

 

 

Kirthi Jayakumar

Kirthi Jayakumar is a social entrepreneur and peace journalist working for gender equality and peace. She founded and runs The Red Elephant Foundation.

 

Tanushree Ghosh

Tanushree Ghosh works in Supply Chain Management in the Tech industry (she has a Ph.D in Chemistry from Cornell University and has worked at the Brookhaven National Laboratories) and is an author and activist in her spare time. She is a blogger for the Huffington Post and has published in several literary magazines and blogs. Her first anthology was selected into Oprah’s reading list 2.0 and her first single author manuscript is currently with her agent: Jennifer Lyons. She is also the founder of HerRights: a non profit working to catalyze action against gender violence. For more on her visit: www.thoughtsandrights.com.

Editor review

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