Tales Of Patriarchy
Malati Mathur
BIJNIS WOMAN by Tanuja Chandra Penguin Books, 2017, 200 pp., 290
January 2017, volume 41, No 7-8

The title sets the tone of the contents and one is prepared for an earthy, chatty, light meander through the bylanes of memory and small townish reminiscences. And this is what one gets. The stories are short and interspersed with great humour—both in the situations and characters depicted and in the manner of the telling. The descriptions of places and people strike strong chords of identification—we’ve all known the teller of tall tales; the intense lover; the wily woman out to cheat an innocent and trusting young man; the stories told by an ancient in the family about death and the coming back from it sometimes…

None of the stories are extraordinary. Many—or variations—of them we’ve come across before, either in our own families or through friends who in turn had heard them from their friends or family. What makes them readable is the sheer sense of fun that imbues the narration. That and the unabashed use of the colloquial and the mother-tongue.

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