Fringes of Sanity: The Absurd and the Irrational in Vilas Sarang’s Short Stories
: Born in Karwar (Maharashtra) in 1942, Vilas Sarang grew up speaking Marathi but was educated in English and became professor of English at the University of Bombay. As a consequence, he read avidly both Marathi and Western literature, imbibing especially the spirit and angst of two widely differing literatures. He wrote in Marathi and in English, and, as he confessed later, this did create a rift in his sensibility as he was torn by the demands and traditions of two different cultures. However, as he had come of age in the seventies, the modernist and absurdist literature of Kafka, Joyce, Camus and Beckett influenced his worldview and writing, an influence that he never shook off. The present research paper examines his stories included in his collections Fair Tree of the Void and Women in Cages to analyze their main concerns and themes. The paper shows that though Sarang was influenced by the Absurdist literature of the West, he was essentially concerned with the contemporary urban life of Mumbai and its effects on the human psyche. Sarang charted out his own path and wrote highly original fiction, both in theme and in technique. Eventually he wrote fiction in which the irrational and the rational interwove in a manner that provided a unique perspective on contemporary life.
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