5 short stories

Top Five Short Story Reads for December 2017

[As mentioned earlier, for November and December, I am revisiting the top ten stories featured here throughout the year.] One of the best recent essays I have read about the short story form is by Brandon Taylor. In ‘Against the Attention Economy: Short Stories Are Not Quick Literary Fixes’, he makes some excellent points. Here are just a few of them . . . All of the short stories I share each month here are ones that, if we take the time to read them with attention and patience, will beat inside of us like second hearts. For December, we have stories (all free to read online, just click the titles) from these amazing writers: Lesley Nneka Arimah; John Cheever; Amy Tan; Karen Shepard; and Michael Cunningham. Enjoy. Oh, and in case you missed them, I also had two short stories published in Jet Fuel Review and Kweli Journal. The latter has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Continue reading Top Five Short Story Reads for December 2017

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Personal Update: Upcoming Book Publication

A bit of good news. I’ve signed with the wonderful Yoda Press (India) to publish a short story collection in 2018 — my first book. These stories are about the diverse and chaotically symbiotic Indias that co-exist across villages, migrant inner-city slums, urban high-rises, Oxbridge spires, Silicon Valley, etc. Some of these stories have been published in literary journals in the US, UK, and India over the past two years. I will be forever grateful to some of the terrific editors of these journals for their invaluable, patient feedback and, in four particular cases, their award nominations. Continue reading Personal Update: Upcoming Book Publication

Published: Disappointment (Jet Fuel Review)

‘Disappointment’ is a piece of flash fiction published in Issue #14 of Jet Fuel Review, a terrific literary journal run out of Lewis University in Illinois. A man and woman run into each other decades after their college years in Chicago, when they were briefly a couple. With this story, I wanted to explore, within the context of race and gender dynamics, how disappointment is a layered, complex emotion and how, often and without sufficient awareness, we tend to disappoint ourselves a whole lot more than anyone else possibly can. Of course, some of us are also often skilled in externalizing/projecting such disappointment onto others around us, especially our loved ones. Continue reading Published: Disappointment (Jet Fuel Review)

Published: Each of Us Killers (Kweli Journal)

Set in Gujarat, India around the time of the 2016 Dalit protests, ‘Each of Us Killers’ explores the present-day politics of Hindu cow worship — a highly-charged issue. It is also the story of a minority low-caste community struggling to reconcile their position in society with their need for personal agency. This struggle is, of course, universal wherever there is oppression of the minority by the majority. I also wanted to explore crowd psychology here. The actual main events of my story are entirely fictional. In fact, the village itself is fictional. However, like the Una, Gujarat flogging incident described in the story, I have also referenced a few other real-life acts of caste-related violence that have been reported or revisited in the last couple of years in Gujarat. While I am very interested in the religious and socio-political constructs that still drive casteism in present-day India, I have focused here on the aspects of human nature that allow us, collectively, to turn away in silence when witnessing injustice, violence, or murder — and what that might mean for us as communities/societies. Continue reading Published: Each of Us Killers (Kweli Journal)

Marginalia: George Eliot

November 22 was George Eliot’s birthdate. She has been one of my early favorites and, maybe, only second to Virginia Woolf among my literary icons. What got me hooked from the start was how she packed so much into a single page about human nature and character that rereading certain bits still leaves me breathless. I completely agree with Byatt that: “One of the reasons I loved her work when I met it was that she both showed people thinking intensely — as well as feeling — and knew and understood herself what they were thinking about. . . When I was younger it was fashionable to criticise Eliot for writing from a god’s eye view, as though she were omniscient. Her authorial commenting voice appeared old-fashioned. It was felt she should have chosen a limited viewpoint, or written from inside her characters only. I came to see that this is nonsense. If a novelist tells you something she knows or thinks, and you believe her, that is not because either of you think she is God, but because she is doing her work – as a novelist. We were taught to laugh at collections of “the wit and wisdom of Eliot”. But the truth is that she is wise – not only intelligent, but wise. Her voice deepens our response to her world.” Continue reading Marginalia: George Eliot