THE COAST by Sohrab Hura
Ugly Dog, 2019 First edition of 1200 copies, 224pp., 6 1/2" X 9" Hardcover
'The physical coastline becomes a metaphor for a ruptured piece of skin barely holding together a volatile state of being ready to explode'
The book opens with an absurd short story that leads into a sequence of images taken along the Indian coastline. While the photographs are made in real situations, the continuous removal and addition of context manipulates the line between what is a fact and what is not, in a way not unlike how new realities are increasingly being engineered today.
Some might imagine the book to be a fable like tale while others might recognize in it, reality. Either way, the book in its stories alludes to undercurrents in a country that is seeing higher frequencies of violence: religious, caste, sexual or otherwise and the increasing normalization of it, which is far more absurd than the story itself.
There is respite towards the end as the book moves to the sea. The margin between land and water becomes a point of release beyond which characters experience fear, surprise, anger, sadness, trust, anticipation, excitement, contempt but also rapture. The short story at the beginning of the book also exists in eleven other iterations, each one changing only a few words at a time like a game of Chinese Whispers. Just like with the images, each story forms a slightly different meaning in every subsequent reading and it becomes one of a dozen different truths.
The Coast is the fourth book by Sohrab Hura.