Looking Back, Moving on : Daisy Hasan

Daisy Hasan, Author

IN 2011 I read and re-read, somewhat obsessively, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1951). While I admittedly came late to this classic ‘Beat’ novel whose memorable main characters (Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise) explode across America in search of each other and of themselves, my deferred reading of the novel until adulthood (many of my friends had read the book in their youth) allowed me to luxuriate in the book’s richness while I was spared the intense melancholy, imparted by some of its ‘sad’, ‘gone’ characters, that might assail a younger reader.

In 2012, I look forward to hitting the ‘reading road’ again, but this time of a very different sort. Dilip Simeon’s Revolution Highway (Penguin Books, 2010) is a novel set against the peasant uprisings in West Bengal in the 1960s. Through a host of intriguing characters who take to the road with great political purpose – they want to overthrow the system through violent means to create a more egalitarian society – Simeon weighs the implications that the use of violence can have in attempts to create equal societies. The book promises to entertain while providing insights into a political question that remains as relevant today as it was then.

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