The Lilliputians in the Asian Century
Last night I unwrapped my advance copies of The Lilliputians.
In the wake of the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s recent speech on the Asian Century it seemed especially appropriate to be opening the parcel of books while sitting in a hotel in Mumbai.
The Lilliputians is the Indian edition, published by New Delhi publishers Young Zubaan, of my novel India Dark.The original title of the novel was Escaping Lilliput so I was pleased to have this edition have a title closer to my original concept.
Several chapters of the novel are set in Mumbai – or Bombay – as it was called when the children in the story spent Christmas here, just over a century ago.
Although the 21st century may be tagged the Asian Century, history illustrates that the titles we give things are simply shaped by the narratives we tell ourselves.
Every era is rich with stories that we either ignore or choose to engage with. The children who toured India and south-east Asia in the early 1900s must have felt they were living in a very Asian century.