Composed by Anukrti Upadhyay|New Delhi |
Upgraded: May 5, 2020 4: 40: 46 pm
She considers these books ageless.
Lockdown Reading is a series where authors will enlist the books they are reading (or not) during this time. Previously, Annie Zaidi had detailed the books she has actually been trying to read, Rheea Mukherjee had revealed the one the book she is reading these days, and Namita Gokhale had given a peek of the way she hanging out during lockdown Last week, Paro Anand, author and playwright shared the books she reads and reviewing This week, writer Anukrti Upadhyay shares her list.
To me, fiction is about informing stories which immerse and lift the readers out of themselves, that develop new experiences, or synthesise old ones, in ways that evoke curiosity or marvel and even awe. This is a time of anxiety and pain and myriad nameless feelings, anonymous since we haven’t skilled anything like this in our life times. Stories become much more important at such times. I would like to advise a few narrative collections today. Why narratives? Since why not!
Also, since it is a demanding, hard type and to do them well is, to me, the true test of authorship. I discovered these collections enormously gratifying checks out, both as a reader and a trainee of the narrative craft. In their differing ways, these stories describe us to ourselves. All these books, to me, are ageless.
To Start With, Blue is like Blue, a collection of short stories by Vinod Kumar Shukla, among the living greats of Hindi Literature. The stories, published by HarperCollins under their Seasonal imprint, have been equated so authentically by Sara Rai and Arvind Krishan Malhotra that they check out like originals.
The stories overturn the craft and plot schemes of narrative form– A young man is cycling to work and finds a dry leaf in his pocket, a young husband is irritated by the tattoo on his spouse’s arm and tries to eliminate it, a young boy speaks about the little
town he was born and raised in. They appear basic and sparse on surface area however have a wealth of meaning and are informed with a deep, however not maudlin, compassion. They are a lesson in the art and craft of narrative writing.
Next, a collection of narratives entitled– Pests Are Just Like You and Me Except A few of Them Have Wings by Kuzhali Manickavel. The astounding, absurd, surreal stories, dipping quotidian inanities into absurd interludes, differ from anything I had actually read before. They demand to be checked out and re-read, their seeming detached absurdities prompt introspection. The woman who collects dead bugs and writes poetry, the character who frets that beggars will take her kidneys, the male who leaves the preserved fetus of his sibling in the care of a librarian– all these characters stay with you and provoke and
intrigue you, simply as the very best of literature ought to. I am so grateful to my editor at HarperCollins, Rahul Soni and Champaca book shop in Bangalore for presenting me to this astonishing author and her works.
Then there is Picnic in The Storm by Yukiko Motoya. Picnic in the Storm is a collection of disruptive, beguiling and intriguing short stories.
happenings– a woman body builder, a spouse who becomes a mountain peony, a cat who declines to be toilet-trained, the stories produce brand-new metaphors for alienation and difficulties in attaining real closeness, of urban lives and unfinished expressions.
An old preferred and one that I read and re-read– Palm-of-the-hand Stories by Yasunari Kawabata. I read it nonstop throughout among my journeys to Japan, carrying it all over with me, buttoned up inside my coat as spring-snow fell all around. I read it all over too– sitting under among the marvelous pines on Lake Ashiya as wind wove its fragrant magic or
lying on the hot slab of a sauna as my body sweated out memories. These are stories that mention extreme things with a deceptive gentleness. A must-read for lovers of narratives– perfect vignettes seen from a window in a various time, various place and yet strangely familiar.
Last But Not Least, Classic Tales from Marwar, a collection of folk-tales written in Rajasthani by the famous archivist and author, Vijaydan Detha, capably equated by Vishesh Kothari and released by Penguin Random Home. After my short novels, Daura and Bhaunri, which are embeded in Rajasthan’s desert-scape, were published, I understood there is a dearth of works of fiction in English about Rajasthan and its vibrant and hardy folk. A translation of the folk- tales of Rajasthan, filled with magic and earthy knowledge, kings and richmen, farmers and nomads is a wonderful method of checking out the desert and its individuals.
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