In this grim tale of the murder of a child, peahens and peacocks burst forth unexpectedly from the scrub and sail up into trees in the farmlands around Delhi not to add colour and variety, but because that is exactly what they do, heedless of the high voltage tensions in human dramas. There isn’t one extra unnecessary word in this novel, no self-indulgent lyricism to showcase the eloquence of the writer. The magnificent river flows through the words, however, making it lush ‘with watery dreams and silted nightmares.
Dictionaries define half-blood in various ways: to denote degrees of separation in consanguineous relationships, as well as to describe social hierarchies pertaining to the pejorative epithet used for someone who is marginalized for not being racially ‘pure’.
Everything the Light Touches is a quiet book. Very quiet. It has time-travelled from another world into the twenty-first century, where fiction often tries to match the breathless pace of action cinema in order to stay in the ring, as it were. Quiet is not the same as slow, though the narrative is not fast-paced. Quiet is restful, quiet is calm, and there is something deeply assured and assuring about the place of things that the light touches
While the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall moved some of the stereotypical goalposts and challengedbinarieswhich were intrinsic to the genre, the spy continued to be what has been called ‘one of our favourite mythical heroes’ in an increasingly complex and conflicted world.
Udayan Mukherjee’s successive works of fiction have a wider and wider canvas. His first novel, Dark Circles (2018) had a focus on a dysfunctional family: the mother goes away to live in an ashram, leaving behind her two sons, a twelve-year-old and a six-year-old. Mukherjee’s second novel, A Death in the Himalayas (2019), is a well-plotted murder mystery
To uncover these multiple layers and disentangle the warp and weft of the story, Ahmad takes the reader on a journey that starts in 1937 in Lahore and ends there in 1976, in the process giving us a glimpse into the creation of not one but two countries, Pakistan and Bangladesh, whose birth is a violent one and coming of age is fraught with brutality and strife amidst the shifting sands of power.
The stories are spicy, and the scope for scandal is much greater because of social strictures.
Cities are imbricated in the minds of the people in multiple ways woven through emotional experiences, subjectivities and various interactions. It is some specific moments of encounter that impinge on one’s mind to shape the imaginaries associated with cities.
The story takes place in 1998, in the sleepy village of Sittanavasal in Tamil Nadu, where Sriveni has led a happy and sensitive childhood with her parents and brothers, aiding her midwife grandmother, and acquiring deep knowledge about plants and herbs.
Brevity is said to be the keynote of a short story, and length admittedly impacts the range of matter dealt with in a brief narrative as well as its treatment. Nevertheless, defining a short story merely in terms of its length does not take into account the flexibility of the genre or the often-profound impression made by a narrative that, though brief, encapsulates an entire experience