Out of Print: Ten Years: An Anthology of Stories is an interesting collection to say the least. A compendium of stories that have earlier been published online via the website of the same name—‘Out of Print’—it is perhaps ironic that these stories do ultimately find themselves in print. Nonetheless, this small point does nothing to take away from the collection that encompasses the best of short stories of the last decade from the website. The book has received praise from a wide variety of people, which perhaps validates the significance of such a curation, focusing on writers and writings from the Indian subcontinent.
The collection is divided into five sections, plus the Introduction, in which the editor and her team set out the terms of reference, so to speak. Each section is preceded by a Comment section, which provides us with an entry point and a suggestive lens through which to read the stories. The collection reflects the changing society scape and publishing landscape in the decade gone by, culminating, not just in the pandemic that has engulfed us all since last year, but also the other social realities that continually threaten to erode and eradicate the idea of India that has primarily sustained us in the seven decades post-Independence. At a time when Covid has forced us all to take a long, hard look at ourselves, this anthology provides us with a stark reminder of the new interpretation of ‘B.C.’ —no longer Before Christ, but now ‘Before Covid’. The author writes:
It is a chronicle of a way of living and thinking and interacting; a record of things that were taken for granted even as writers wrote about the self; a documentation of ten years of writing connected to the Indian subcontinent prior to the assault on society by an invasive pathogen
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