Sara Suleri (now Suleri Goodyear) is Professor of English at Yale University in the United States. She grew up in Lahore as one of six siblings born to a Welsh mother and a Pakistani father. Her father, Z.A. Suleri, was a prominent political journalist who was often jailed by the authorities – and to whom she later wrote an elegy entitled Boys will be Boys (The University of Chicago Press, 2003). Her higher education was undertaken partly in Pakistan – a B.A. from Kinnaird College in Lahore (1974) and an M.A. from Punjab University (1976) – but completed in the United States with a PhD from Indiana University (1983). After taking up her post at Yale, she became founding editor of The Yale Journal of Criticism.
The extract reproduced here comes from her first book, Meatless Days (The University of Chicago Press, 1989), in which she sought to interweave her own personal history with that of her native country, Pakistan. It is described by the publisher as a ‘narrative of elegy and leavetaking’ in which the author ‘negotiates the uncertain distance between personal and political history, between loss and celebration, between the Third World and the First.’ It reflects her academic work – notably, The Rhetoric of English India (The University of Chicago Press, 1992) – in displaying an interest in issues of race, gender and language within the framework of postcolonial literary criticism.
In this first chapter, entitled ‘Excellent Things in Women’, Suleri introduces her ‘tenacious’ grandmother, Dadi, along with other members of her family. Like other chapters in the book, it is organised not by chronology, but by metaphor with the central allegory, as the book’s title suggests, being the preparation and eating of food.
Inderpal Grewal, Review of Meatless Days, NWSA Journal, Vol. 2, No. 3 (Summer, 1990), pp. 508-10.
David Kopf, Review of Meatless Days, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 113, no. 3 (1993), pp. 476-8.
Sara Suleri, ‘Woman Skin Deep: Feminism and Postcolonial Criticism’, Critical Enquiry, vol. 18, no. 4 Identities (Summer, 1992), pp. 756-769
Anita Mannur, ‘Culinary Nostalgia: Authenticity, Nationalism, and Diaspora’, MELUS, vol. 32, No. 4 (Food in Multi-Ethnic Literatures) (Winter, 2007), pp. 11-31.
Muneeza Shamsie, ‘Interview: Sara Suleri Goodyear’, Newsline (1 March 2004) [http://www.newslinemagazine.com/2004/03/interview-sara-suleri-goodyear/]
Suleri Meatless Days Extract reproduced by permission of The University of Chicago Press. Further reading: Sara Suleri, Meatless Days (The University of Chicago Press, 1989) [http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/M/bo3774918.html] Sara Suleri, The Rhetoric of English India (The University of Chicago Press, 1992) [http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/R/bo3697182.html] Sara Suleri Goodyear, Boys will be Boys (The University of Chicago …