I loved the short story collection, as evident by my updates (scroll below)
The catch is, her setting never changes. It’s the Bnegalis, the immigrants and the issues and mostly melancholic and sad undertones. It is entirely because of that undertone, that her stories are a miss and hit with readers. It’s the current psyche of the reader that decides if the book works or not. I am reading this the second time, and only a vague recollection of her stories came back to me as I re-read it.
Good stories stay with you. The plot, the characters and the story.
Good writing on the other hand leaves u satiated at that moment and then we are hungry for more.
Her writing is like that. It’s wonderful reading, occasionally verbose than necessary to set the stage, the descriptions and then the character sketching and giving it ground, and they are all important in context. However, even if this was the only book I read continuously, without breaks, I can’t for the life of me remember clearly what her first few stories were. (and I most certainly do not think am old or losing it!)
It’s the journey of story telling that she is good at, and that is nothing to be frowned or looked down upon. She is a good story teller more than the story as such,. and for that, she deserves good credit.
Like most others, I do wish she tries and gets outside of her niche for Bengali characters and stories, and explores emotions and human relationships in other situations and cultures.
The story that stuck with me was of course Hema and Kaushik, for a few personal reasons and also because it was nicely done, the 3 parts, the narration, the ending nd the picking up and the characters which were real and relatable.
Nobody’s Business: was just sad. We’ve known many a fine girl throw herself away at jerks and your heart goes out to Sang and to the narrator.
Only Goodness: was good. I liked how the older sister bore the brunt of the family and the pain of seeing a sibling waste away, and the helplessness of it all. It was an unfortunate ending, but families have a way of falling apart and it was foreseeable, even when folks don’t get that second and third chance.
Choice of Accommodations: now this one wasn’t sketched out that clear. The ending was fuzzy. I am not sure what conclusions could be drawn or where the story was heading in the heads, and some parts were strange and out of character. I couldn’t quite place it.
Hell-Heaven: Now this – this was a good one. It’s easy to see how the story could go where it did. The falling in love with a younger man, to be completely enamored becos life married to a simple, quiet pedantic husband was well,boring. Yes, I could see that happen and such stories do not have happy endings, just a series of dots..
Unaccustomed Earth: I could again see this story. About life, the new leases, the freedom of untethered second chances and the daughter knowing it all and the succinct relief of it all.
Her words and some phrases jump at you.
Most books, stories and words appeal to the reader when one can relate to it.
For now, this read was good for me.