With a view to broadening the boundaries of the medical humanities, we are offering ‘In Pursuit of the Good by: Aspiration and Suicide in Globalizing South India’ by Jocelyn Lim Chua (University of California Press, 2014) for review. Expressions of interest are welcome from across the medical humanities, but this book may be particularly well suited to researchers with an interest in South Asian Studies.
‘Once celebrated as a model development for its progressive social indicators, the southern Indian state of Kerala has earned the new distinction as the nation’s suicide capital, with suicide rates soaring to triple the national average since 1990. Rather than an aberration on the path to development and modernity, Keralites understand this crisis to be the bitter fruit borne of these historical struggles and the aspirational dilemmas they have produced in everyday life. Suicide, therefore, offers a powerful lens onto the experiential and affective dimensions of development and global change in the postcolonial world.
In the long shadow of fear and uncertainty that suicide casts in Kerala, living acquires new meaning and contours. In this powerful ethnography, Jocelyn Chua draws on years of fieldwork to broaden the field of vision beyond suicide as the termination of life, considering how suicide generates new ways of living in these anxious times.’
If you would like to write a review on ‘In Pursuit of the Good Life’ (approximately 1,000-1,500 words in length), then please email our reviews editor with a short explanation of why you are well placed to review the book.