Narrating Life, Writing Identity: Reading Esther Mary Lyons’ Autobiography Bitter Sweet Truth


  • Shyamasri Maji


The hybrid racial origin of Anglo-Indians often complicates their ‘identity’.This article examines Esther Mary Lyons’ (b. 1940) autobiography, Bitter Sweet Truth: Recollections of an Anglo-Indian Born During the Last Years of the British Raj (2001), highlighting the complexities in the identity of an Anglo-Indian woman who was born in India in 1940 and then lived in Australia from 1981. The book deals mainly with a daughter’s search for her absent father in order to legitimise her identity in the broader Indian society and also within Anglo-Indian circles. In the narrative an overt rejection of patriarchal sentiment can be noticed when Esther chooses to be a single parent and sets forth to explore her identity as an individual in the Anglo-Indian diasporic space of Australia.This article aims to study critically this Anglo-Indian woman’s search for her identity at different phases of her life as described in her autobiography. It traces the gender dimensions associated with her mixed racial origins, in her search for her own self.