THE stories in the collection exemplify Excess, which the editors consider one of the defining characteristics of our country: a country that loves to have too much of everything. This is reflected partly in their themes and partly in their making: in their luxuriant language and imagery and the exuberance of their style.
In “Feast” a vampire from abroad learns from his female colleague why he gets his food plentifully in India: people do not believe in a single life but a “raging torrent of lives.” In another story, a boy caught between the orderly and disorderly world of his home and school is happy to see his father’s dead body in school premises because he wanted him to be there. “Paraphilia” makes excessive use of medical terminology to give a piquant flavour to the life of a surgeon who yearns to have a glimpse of young couples behind draped windows.
A couple of stories traverse the inner landscape of bruised and diseased psyche. In one we meet Yusuf who dreads strawberries; scenes are piled up to allow him to see more of them, which add to his confusion. In another one, people rush through a spiral of motions to search for elusive peace. In “Zugwang” a demented boy is caught in the war between his estranged parents. In another one, Selkirk goes through quick motions to reach far back in time to the moment when he killed his servant. In yet another one, a dog which was considered harmless is maddened by intruders, but because they succeed in running away, bites his master, who is forced to shoot it. The stories are complex and quite demanding. Nisha Susan though helps with her carefully crafted piece on her response to most of them. -TND
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