Arc Publications logo

50 years at the cutting edge of poetry publishing

“A meeting point for poets of all latitudes”
— Víctor Rodríguez Núñez

Review: Until the Lions, by Karthika Naïr

Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee, Guernica Magazine, 17 August 2016

What did the women in the Mahabharata face as they faced a world where love and war was tightly woven around each other?

Karthika Nair's Until The Lions (from an African proverb, quoted by Chinua Achebe in an interview, that "until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter") responds to that mighty question with mighty skill as she lets loose her lions upon us. Nair plays conduit to her lions, the women of the tale, roaring to tell us what those who authored and controlled their lives denied them and how they gave them a raw deal. To embark on such a radical task requires great courage and conviction. Nair delves into it with an admirable range of tools in her quiver.


In Nair's text, the women speak more palpably in pleasure or despair. Verbalizing their desire and despair, the women assert and reclaim their wounded subjectivity. They also remap the world by challenging the territorial stranglehold of masculine narratives.


Until The Lions marks a liberating moment of our culture.