THE BIGGEST LITERARY MEMOIR OF THE YEAR.
The autobiographical essays in Raw Umber are as much about the steady pulse of Sara Rai’s childhood in the 1960s, as they are about the nature of remembering, and the role that memory plays in shaping a writer’s sensibility. It is the unconscious jottings of the mind, and the cadences that enter the ears, the inner life that develops during years of unhurried living in places like Allahabad and Banaras that prepare the ground for the fiction writer. With the figure of her grandfather Premchand looming over her childhood, and with others in her family—grandmother, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins—also writers, it is hardly a surprise that Sara ‘fell into’ writing. In this literary memoir, some of the characters in the family gallery are brought to life. In chronicling the life and times of one of India’s most illustrious literary families through the prism of her childhood, Sara Rai always keeps to her own remembering of the ever-changing past.
A work of great tenderness and beauty.