Sara Suleri Goodyear dies; The ‘Meatless Days’ memoirist was 68

The daughter of a prominent Pakistani journalist and a mother of Welsh descent, Dr Suleri Goodyear has traveled a multitude of worlds. She was born in Karachi and spent part of her education in Britain before returning to Pakistan to study in Lahore. She then moved to the United States, where she served for decades on the faculty of Yale University.

The start of Dr. Suleri Goodyear’s academic career coincided with the emergence of postcolonial theory, which seeks to understand and analyze the legacy of European colonial rule in politics, culture, literature, and beyond. It was a legacy she had experienced first-hand: British India had been divided in 1947, six years before she was born, into two independent countries, Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan. His father had argued forcefully for the formation of the Muslim state.

Dr Suleri Goodyear chronicled her life in Pakistan and her family’s joys and sorrows in “Meatless Days”, her first book, published in 1989. The title referred to the two days a week when, by order of the new government, the Pakistani citizens abstained from eating meat to ration the supply of cattle and goats.

“Every Tuesday and Wednesday the butcher shops remained firmly closed, with not a single carcass hanging from the huge metal hooks that lined the awnings under which the butchers crouched, selling meat, and without the sewers ever open at the edge from their narrow street run with a trail of blood,” Dr. Suleri Goodyear wrote.

“On normal trading days, the blood flowed, carrying with it flotillas of chicken feathers, and little bits of sinew and entrails, or a full, yellow bladder that a butcher had just deftly bounced into On days without meat, this world was emptied into a skeletal corpse: the scorching sun came to burn all the smells and all the liquids of the slaughter and shrivelled on the blocks the last flourishes of all that was organic, making them both empty and precise.

With the warped eye of the memoirist, she goes on to note: “As a principle of hygiene, I suppose it was a good idea even if it really had nothing to do with conservation: people who could afford to buy meat, after all, were those who could afford refrigeration.

Many critics have found that the most radiant passages of “Meatless Days” were portraits of Dr. Suleri Goodyear’s family – his little grandmother, for example, whose curved spine sent him “through the day” in the “shrimp posture”.

Dr. Suleri Goodyear “never wrote anything in a clichéd or ordinary way”, observed writer Bina Shah in a tribute to her published in Pakistani publication Dawn; “Instead of saying that her Welsh mother didn’t speak Urdu, she said, ‘Urdu was one of those illusions that cast its shadow over her, but never long enough for her to possess it. His penchant for elegant metaphors was unmatched.

In her memoir, Dr Suleri Goodyear probed her grief over the loss of her mother, who died after being hit by a rickshaw, and her sister, who was killed in a suspicious hit-and-run.

Ultimately, Dr. Suleri Goodyear delved into Pakistani history through her family’s experience, producing “a parallel exercise in postcolonial score,” critic Daniel Wolfe wrote in The New York Times. Its “territory,” he added, “is the self.”

Dr Suleri Goodyear later wrote the scholarly book “The Rhetoric of English India” (1992), which helped her become “the first great post-colonial Pakistani scholar in the global English-speaking sphere”, said Sadia Abbas, an academic and Pakistani American novelist. in an interview. His last books included “Boys Will Be Boys” (2003), an elegy for his father. Along with Azra Raza, Dr Suleri Goodyear wrote “A Tribute to Ghalib” (2017), offering a “reinterpretation” of 21 traditional poems known as ghazals.

Sara Suleri was born in Karachi on June 12, 1953. Her father, ZA Suleri, was known as “Pip” because his characteristic features were “patriotic” and “absurd”, she writes. His mother, the former Mair Jones, taught English at Punjab University in Lahore.

Dr. Suleri Goodyear has devoted years to her study of English literature. She received a bachelor’s degree from Kinnaird College, Lahore in 1974 and a master’s degree from Punjab University two years later. After moving to the United States, she enrolled at Indiana University in Bloomington, earning a second master’s degree in 1980 and a doctorate in 1983.

Dr Suleri Goodyear’s husband, Austin Goodyear, died in 2005 after more than a decade of marriage. Besides his sister, the survivors include a brother.

As a scholar of English literature, Dr. Suleri Goodyear has cultivated specialties in the writings of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron and Keats. She too, according to an obituary published in the Yale Daily News, “was known to have a wry tolerance for the writings of British imperialists such as Rudyard Kipling and Edmund Burke.”

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