A Registry of My Passage Upon the Earth: Daniel Mason

This is an intriguing collection of short stories, many of them set in the 1800s. A doctor finds himself blanking out regularly. The seizure is heralded by the smell of chestnuts. When he comes to, he finds that, instead of passing out, he had carried on with what he had been doing but with no …

Continue reading A Registry of My Passage Upon the Earth: Daniel Mason

Fly Already: Etgar Keret

Translated from Hebrew by Sondra Silverston, Nathan Englander, Jessica Cohen, Miriam Shlesinger and Yardenne Greenspan A child encourages a man to jump off the top of a building, believing that the man is a superhero and will fly. A man keeps the compacted wreck of a car in his living room. A goldfish comes down …

Continue reading Fly Already: Etgar Keret

The Ayah and Other Stories: Chanis Fernando-Boisard

The short stories in this collection capture the small but seismic shifts in a person’s life: the distraction of a tutor whose wife has left him; the regret of a woman who has walked out of her marriage of 30 years; and a woman realizing that her dream house still harbours the spirits of its …

Continue reading The Ayah and Other Stories: Chanis Fernando-Boisard

Indian women tell their stories

The Inner Courtyard: Stories by Indian Women, edited by Lakshmi HolmströmIn Other Words: New Writing by Indian Women, selected by Urvashi Butalia and Ritu Menon “Women in India have traditionally been teller of tales. They have used not only the mythic materials of the epics in their local versions, but the lives of gods and …

Continue reading Indian women tell their stories

Men without Women: Haruki Murakami

Translated from Japanese by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goosen “Here's what hurts the most," Kafuku said. "I didn't truly understand her—or at least some crucial part of her. And it may well end that way now that she's dead and gone. Like a small, locked safe lying at the bottom of the ocean. It hurts …

Continue reading Men without Women: Haruki Murakami

A Haunted House and Other Stories: Virginia Woolf

I haven’t read Virginia Woolf for decades, and I had forgotten just how well she writes. I had bought this collection of her short stories in the 1980s, and it was one of the many books I had left behind in my parents’ house when I moved. It has now found its place on my …

Continue reading A Haunted House and Other Stories: Virginia Woolf

Abburi Chayadevi (1933-2019): A writer who never stopped asking questions

Review by Sadhana Ramchander In 2016, when Anuradha Gunupati and I met 83-year old Abburi Chayadevi to tell her about our plans to publish a book on her writing and craft, she asked, “Why do we need this book? I am already suffering from fame.” I was delighted to find that she still asked questions! …

Continue reading Abburi Chayadevi (1933-2019): A writer who never stopped asking questions

Not So Stories, edited by David Thomas Moore

When I was a child, I loved Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, tales of how animals became what they are: how the leopard got its spots, the camel its hump and the rhinoceros its skin. But it’s a book that doesn’t age well. Kipling, after all, was part of the British Empire and believed that …

Continue reading Not So Stories, edited by David Thomas Moore

Ghost Stories: E.F. Benson (selected and introduced by Mark Gatiss)

This collection comes with an introduction by Mark Gatiss, best known for playing Mycroft in the TV series, Sherlock. I discovered that Gatiss and I share a love of Victorian ghost stories: he made a documentary on the life of the greatest of them, M.R. James, a writer who was Benson’s contemporary and influenced him. …

Continue reading Ghost Stories: E.F. Benson (selected and introduced by Mark Gatiss)

Tales of the Tikongs: Epeli Hau’ofa

If this book were to be summed up in one sentence, it would be: “‘Development’ comes to a small Pacific island”. Tales of the Tikongs is a collection of vignettes of what happens when foreign development experts try to impose development on a happy-go-lucky people. And “impose” is the word—the so-called experts have very little …

Continue reading Tales of the Tikongs: Epeli Hau’ofa