"Dasgupta gives us fifteen thoughtful and observant essays that are indeed good for the world. On one level they may be about the physiology of snakes, the hottie badass of a Bollywood movie, or the goddesses of Hindu mythology. On a deeper level they reflect on the necessity of feminism, the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and abuse, and the consequences of ignorance. " -- Donna Miscolta, The Seattle Review of Books.
" Here’s what Sayantani Dasgupta’s new collection, Fire Girl: Essays on India, America, and the In-Between, made me notice about contemporary nonfiction. Often we Americans, or more specifically we white Americans, or even more specifically, I, personally, write memoir that is untethered to the great sweeps of historical events that surround it. Sure, my parents play a part in some of the pieces I write and on rare occasions I mention a grandparent, but Dasgupta anchors the trajectory of her life within the experiences and languages and foods of her ancestors and situates their lives in the national and international forces of their times. I’ve never even thought of myself as having ancestors. " -- Sandra Lambert, Entropy
" Dasgupta enlightens with a powerful narrative tool: the willingness to be vulnerable and account for past opinions that shapeshifted over the years. Her book holds family, migration, globalisation, and memory as a public offering, allowing readers to obtain “perspective and context”, which just happen to be the constant theme of the book. It’s easy to say those words, but to let them breath on the pages is quite another feat. " -- Rheea Mukherjee, Scroll
PRAISE FOR FIRE GIRL
These are exquisite essays, filled with savory language spiced just right. Sayantani Dasgupta's generous intelligence and lively curiosity bring alive whole worlds--those of ancient stories and those of daily living, artfully considered. Cultures, languages, religions, landscapes, legacies--this is a writer who contains multitudes.
~ Peggy Shumaker, Author of Just Breathe Normally
Sayantani Dasgupta writes with such keen intelligence and vivid clarity that we can’t help be taken in. Lyrical, compassionate, and compelling, these beautiful essays transport us to another world. In Dasgupta’s able hands, it is a world we come to recognize as our own.
~ Kim Barnes, Author of In the Kingdom of Men
Sayantani Dasgupta brings together past and present as she considers childhood, violence, safety, family, monsters, goddesses, and the concept of home. These beautiful essays move between India and America, between selves and versions of selves, as Sayantani considers what is real and what is story or indeed, how the two are ever different. The range of landscapes and subjects is as breathtaking as the writing, showing us a powerful mind at work.
~ Bich Minh Nguyen, Author of Stealing Buddha's Dinner
The oscillations in the essays are sometimes gentle vibrations, other times beating drums, encompassing the tension between the home and the world, the past and the present, the brain and the heart. The stories constantly go away and come back and we undulate with them, rippling between delight, sorrow, rage, wonder.
~ Aurvi Sharma, Winner of the 2015 Gulf Coast Prize in Nonfiction