Exquisite Cadavers: A surprising, gripping experiment that works

Meena Kandasamy began this book as a response to the critical reaction to her last novel

Many reviews of Meena Kandasamy’s last book  called it a memoir: ‘As a woman writer I was not even given the autonomy of deciding the genre to which the book I had spent years writing, belonged.’ Photograph: Simone Padovani/Awakening/Getty Images

Many reviews of Meena Kandasamy’s last book called it a memoir: ‘As a woman writer I was not even given the autonomy of deciding the genre to which the book I had spent years writing, belonged.’ Photograph: Simone Padovani/Awakening/Getty Images

The publication of this book raises a number of questions. To answer the first, for those who haven’t come across her writing before, Meena Kandasamy is one of the rising stars of contemporary literature.

Born in India and based in London, she writes poetry and fiction that combines political awareness (her first collection of poems was titled Ms Militancy) with innovation in form and structure. That blend puts her in good company with the likes of Ali Smith, though where Smith tends to soften her message with puns and jokes, Kandasamy looks the reader directly in the eye.

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