Saturday, 14 November 2015

Review: Karma and Other Stories by Rishi Reddi.


Book: Karma and other Stories.

Author: Rishi Reddi

Pages: 240

Read On: Paperback

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days

Plot Summary: 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.

General Thoughts: This was a book I picked up on a whim because it sounded good and I am always looking to try new authors and especially short stories. Also I won't lie, this was a cover buy to an extent too. Look how gorgeous this book cover is! So pretty!

Things I Liked: 

1. The writing was a pleasure to read. Simple and direct and nice.

2. I also loved the setting of this book, in and around Boston set in the Indian diaspora. Jhumpa Lahiri (one of my favourite writers) often writes about this area and it makes it familiar and something I enjoy reading about.

3. The stories apart from being set in the same area are also, to an extent, about the same group of people....characters from one story often make a cameo in others. I like when stories do this.

4. I loved the length of these stories, perfect lengths for short stories. Not too long and not too fleetingly short.

5. I loved reading about Andhra Pradesh and learning about Telegu culture and practices through the stories in this book.

6. I loved pretty much all of the stories in this book.

7. While most of the stories are set in America, some are also in some part set in India as well which was a nice mix to read.

8. There some stories about people who are older and finding it hard to settle in a new country and a new culture. I always find reading about these perspectives very poignant and touching.

9. The writer also got the angst of first generation immigrants, the confusion about where they belong. Trying to fit in America while retaining their Indianness.

10. Like many books about immigrants, especially the early immigrants-- the ones who moved in the 60s and 70s, it made me really appreciate how hard it was for them. To move so far from home and everything familiar and start a new life in a new land. A place so unknown and face racism and strife and still manage to prosper.

Rating: 4/5


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