K Srilatha, This Kind of Child: The ‘Disability’ Story, Westland, 2022, 336 pgs, INR 409 (paperback), INR 388.55 (Kindle). ISBN-13: 978-9395767521.
The reader lingers, broods over the sea-green cover of K Srilata’s This Kind of Child: The ‘Disability’ Story. Against a faint grid of squares, the title’s typography that evokes handwritten text doubles up as a striking cover image: two alphabets (‘h’ and ‘c’) are flipped in the opposite direction. Even as the reader takes in that moment of alphabet-rebellion, the quotation marks around “disability” start to niggle. What is it evoking? As with any movement, the wholehearted embracing of shared terminology becomes a crucial starting point for advocacy, and disability rights has done so for decades. Nonetheless, having decided to accept the tentative, discursive connotations of punctuation, the reader now has to contend with the question of authorship. Although featuring the name of a single author on the cover, the work shows all the qualities of an edited volume — apart from select fragments by the author, the bulk of the book comprises of contributions from other writers or verbatim interviews. How do we make sense of multiple stories and multiple authors (“the stories of an entire universe of human hidden in plain sight” as claims the Preface) merging into one story (with quotation marks) by one author? What might this tell us about ethical considerations around disability narratives, especially if reaching out to a larger readership?
Copyright and license ©Indian Journal of Medical Ethics 2023: Open Access and Distributed under the Creative Commons license ( CC BY-NC-ND 4.0), which permits only non-commercial and non-modified sharing in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.