Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Review: The Kept Woman and Other Stories by Kamala Das.

Book: The Kept Woman and Other Stories

Author: Kamala Das

Pages: 163

Read On: Paperback

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days

Plot Summary: ”I feel a woman is most attractive when she surrenders to her man. She is incomplete without a man,” averred Kamala Das shortly before her death in May, 2009. 

One of the most controversial and celebrated Indian authors, she combined in her writings rare honesty and sensitivity, provocation and poignancy. The Kept Woman and Other Stories explores the man-woman relationship in all its dimensions. Deprived, depraved, mysterious, mystical and exalted, each character, culled from experience and observation, is an incisive study of love, lust and longing.
General Thoughts: Kamala Das is a fairly controversial figure in the Indian literary scene. Her life and views had often landed her in trouble. I had read some of her works previously, in college, but those were mostly poems and I have always wanted to read more. When I spotted this collection of short stories I wanted to give them a go.

Things I Liked: 

1. The writing was very good.

2. The stories in this collection are of various varying lengths, some long and some super short and feel like vignettes into a story. I like when short-story collections do this.

3. Some of the stories had a magical realism element to it, always fun to read.

4. Most of these stories are about women, and their feelings and thoughts. Something that I always enjoy reading about.

5. Some of the stories were very autobiographical and reeked of honesty and vulnerability and were a pleasure to read.

6. The settings of the stories were interesting too, some set in tiny villages and towns in Kerala and others were set in Calcutta.

7. I always want to read more regional literature and most, if not all of these stories were originally written in Malayalam and translated into English---so it made me so happy to dabble into regional lit via this book.

Things I Didn't Like: 

I enjoyed this book for most part but some of the stories, especially the ones with magical elements in them were a bit strange and off. Like I just didn't get the point of them.

Rating: 3.5/5

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