Desai – a grassroot existentialist

Anita Desai’s novels assert her interest in individuals rather than in social concerns by focusing on the inner emotional world of her characters struggling against the absurdity of life or trying to cope with the existentialist problems with utmost sincerity. All her woman characters – Maya, Monisha, Sita, Bim and Nanda Kaul are endowed with exceptional sensibility. Her heroes are highly imaginative and their response to life is never prosaic. Nirode in  Voices in the City, Dev in Bye-Bye Blackbird, Deven in In Custody and Baumgartner in Baumgartner’s Bombay make passionate attempts to find order in the disordered world in which they exist. All her protagonists suffer because they refuse to conform. Past is not able to bring them consolation and present does not offer any to them. This awareness brings them fresh pain.

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