Intimacy and Estrangement in Meatless Days
Paul Merrylees, English 171, Sages and Satirists, Brown University, 2003
Sara Suleri opens
He preferred to grow them rather than eat them. There was a time when he had a hundred doves on the roof of the Khurshid Alam Road house, which was quite a feat, considering that they'd had to be kept a strict secret from my father. Papa hated doves, aassociating them with the effete gambling of Deccan princedoms or with Trafalgar Square and his great distate of the English ability to combine rain and pigeon droppings. So Irfan built dovecote after dovecote on our roof, while Pap had no idea of the commerce and exchange beneath which he was living. 
Suleri closes this anecdote by describing the chagrin and disbelief of her father when he discovers Irfan's rooftop dove cultivation and moves on to the next thought by declaring that her "parable has to do with nothing less than the imaginative extravagance of food and all the transmogrifications of which it is capable" (34). Throughout the book she continually describes intimate memories and language that is strangely removed from them, as in the phrase "transmogrifications of food", and in describing her father's reaction to her younger brother in terms of "Deccan Princedoms", Trafalgar Square, and commerce and exchage.
Does Suleri's immense erudition and linguistic capacity take away from or add to the immediacy of what she evokes? Does it create distance or does it enhance the images that she communicates to the reader?
Does the style of Suleri's prose convey any particular attitudes toward the subject matter that she describes?
Last modified November 2003