Journal of South Asia Women Studies

New Titles

Ashes of Immortality: Widow Burning in India

By Catherine Weinberger-Thomas

Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1999

Pp. XII + 322

Review by Enrica Garzilli, October 13, 2000

This book by Catherine Weinberger-Thomas, professor of Hindi at the Institut des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, renews the ongoing debate on sati. This work attempts to see the phenomenon of sati, the self-immolation of the widow on the funeral pyre of her husband, through Hindy eyes, providing a wideranging account of ritual self-sacrifice and self-mutilation in South Asia. It is based on fifteen years of fieldwork in northern India, but also gives an historical account of the rite. The book is furnished by interesting and original illustrations of sati and women ritual suicides.

The book has originally been published in French in 1996 and this is probably the reason why its bibliography looks slightly outdated (for a more complete bibliography see Enrica Garzilli, "First Greek and Latin Documents on Sahagamana and Some Connected Problems" in two parts, in Indo-Iranian Journal, July 1997 and November 1997). Moreover, the bibliography carries titles such as those on the philosophy of language in the Trika system of Kashmir that have nothing to do with the subject of the book itself: perhaps because the author is a (famous) French scholar?

Light in the Crevice Never Seen

By Haunani-Kay Trask

Corvallis, Oregon: Calyx Books, rev. ed. 1999 (1st ed. 1994)

Price: cloth USD 45.00; paper USD 16.00

Review by Enrica Garzilli, October 13, 2000

This is an expanded edition of the first book of poetry by an indigenous Hawaiian to be published in North America. The Author mostly describes the beauty and the origins of her native land. Some of the poems have appeared in well-known Hawaiian literary magazines. This edition includes 12 new poems, an introduction by poet Eleanor Wilner, a preface by the author and a glossary of Hawaiian words.