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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Books

The Firebird's Nest

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The Firebird's Nest

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Author: Salman Rushdie
Publisher: New Yorker, 1997
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Book Type: Short Story
Genre: Fantasy
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Synopsis

Rushdie's short story discusses sati, or Hindu widow burning, something that was once a practice and has now gained the status of a colonial myth. The story engages with the mythology that has grown out of this discontinued practice.

It is a hot place, flat and sere. The rains have failed so often that now they say instead, the drought succeeded. They are plainsmen, livestock farmers, but their cattle are deserting them. The cattle, staggering, migrate south and east in search of water, and rattle as they walk. Their skulls, horned mile-posts, line the route of their vain exodus. There is water to the west, but it is salt. Soon even these marshes will have given up the ghost. Tumbleweed blows across the leached grey flats. There are cracks big enough to swallow a man.

An apt enough way for a farmer to die: to be eaten by his land. Women do not die that way. Women catch fire, and burn...


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