Ranjit Hoskote is the author of five major books of poems, including, most recently, Central Time, Vanishing Acts and eighteen works of cultural criticism. He is the editor of Dom Moraes: Selected Poems. His translations include I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded.
'Ambitious, sophisticated and charged . . . an astonishing achievement' Ruth Padel Jonahwhale, in three beautiful movements, takes on very current themes in its playful, mostly aquatic scope, moving from the ocean to the river Ganga to Bombay's Marine Drive waterfront. It invokes the narratives of Biblical prophet Jonah, who escapes death by spending three nights in the belly of a whale, and Melville's Moby Dick, whose obsessive Captain Ahab chases the eponymous whale who bit off his leg. These poems resurrect the diverse figures who ran ships along the global trade routes of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Hoskote reflects on the city at war with itself, and a planet embattled by ecological and political crisis.
At the heart of the rich, wide-ranging canvas, Hoskote puts into play the idea of cultural confluence. A sophisticated project in anamnesia, Jonahwhale retrieves fragments and episodes from the multiple pasts that we inherit; it makes an inquiry into the unregarded legacies of the colonial encounter at sea rather than on land. Ambitious, accessible and rejoicing in the language and beauty of the many stunning connections it makes, this new book establishes Hoskote as one of our most gifted contemporary poets.