Tishani Doshi’s lockdown reading

The Spirit of Indian Painting by B N Goswamy

Tishani Doshi’s lockdown reading

The urge with such a beautiful book is to consume it greedily. But the lesson of the book suggests slowing down, to stay with one painting for a long time and find a way into it. Goswamy reframed for me the relationship between the visual and the word, the performer and the receiver. By giving a name to instincts I had only wispy notions of, he linked me to a concrete study of aesthetics. I experienced with this book, something I’ve only experienced with live encounters of art—a kind of transformation, which during this period of lockdown, was nothing short of magical.

If This Is a Man by Primo Levi

Tishani Doshi’s lockdown reading

Primo Levi’s account of his year in Auschwitz and the complexity and complicity involved in surviving drew me to this translated workof his as I have also been thinking about questions of survival during lockdown. . He shows us the power structures, how because these exist, you have “the drowned and the saved” – we only need to look around today to see these structures and categories still exist. It’s also about bearing witness, which Levi does, without hate, without bitterness.

The Little Virtues by Natalia Ginzburg

Tishani Doshi’s lockdown reading

Written during the period after WWII, her essays move between the vocation of writing, domesticity, war, friendship and loss — they are autobiographical and political, keeping the most perfect balance at all times. Never sentimental, never cold — Ginzburg is a writer of great restraint, asking big courageous moral questions, but also finding a way to draw circles around personal grief and loss.

Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky

Tishani Doshi’s lockdown reading

I’m interested in the way the micro connects with the macro, the individual’s role in the collective, which leads me to this book of poems, rather a play made up of poems, that stand alone. An epic, which opens in the town of Vasenka where soldiers kill a deaf boy, Petya, and the gunshot becomes the last thing the citizens hear. We meet characters from the town as they live through this epidemic of deafness, learning sign language as a way of resistance. These poems are about silence and oppression and ways of countering violence. So prescient in so many ways.

We would love to know how you are keeping busy at home. Tell us what you are reading at

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Dec 1, 2020 3:19:49 PM |

Next Story