Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thoughts for Thursday

Do you read short stories? Why or why not?

I really hadn't read any short stories until I read Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies. I loved those stories so I decided to look for some others. I recently bought Karma and Other Stories by Rishi Reddi and See Through: Stories by Nelly Reifler.

About Karma and Other Stories:

In this sparkling collection, award-winning writer Rishi Reddi weaves a multigenerational tapestry of interconnected lives, depicting members of an Indian American community struggling to balance the demands of tradition with the allure of Western life.

In "Lord Krishna," a teenager is offended when his evangelical history teacher likens the Hindu deity to Satan, but ultimately forgives the teacher against his father's wishes. In the title story, "Karma," an unemployed professor rescues birds in downtown Boston after his wealthy brother kicks him out of his home. In "Justice Shiva Ram Murthy," which appeared in The Best American Short Stories 2005, an irascible retired judge reconnects with a childhood friend while adjusting to a new life with his daughter and her American husband. In "Devadasi," a beautiful young woman raised in the United States travels back to India and challenges the sexual confines of her culture. And in "Bangles," a widow decides to return to her native village to flee her son's off-putting American ways.

Set mostly in the Boston area, with side trips to an isolated immigrant community in Wichita, Kansas, and the characters' hometown of Hyderabad, India, Karma and Other Stories introduces a luminous new voice.

About See Through:

Nelly Reifler's debut story collection, See Through, is a swarm of surreal tales, each buzzing with the friction of everyday people encountering atypical circumstances. "Baby" reveals with creeping horror the case of an overly intelligent newborn ("'Oh,' said the baby, wheezing, 'this is the tape with that bad Dutch cellist. Could you find the other, please? With Yo-Yo Ma?'"). "Teeny" is the harrowing story of a young girl beset with responsibilities she's not yet ready to tackle. "Personal Foundations" brings us a squirrel that feels such kinship with rats he begins to adorn himself accordingly (would that be a trans-species-ite?). Especially hair-raising is "Rascal," in which a young misfit bicyclist vents his roiling resentment on unsuspecting campers...The majority...are humorous or haunting (and often both), drawing their vivid, lasting imagery from a foundation in the all-too-real.

I like short stories because they're such quick reads. By the end, I feel like I've read ten books in one day! If you're hesitant to buy a book of short stories, try 52 stories for free!

Find other thoughts at BTT.
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