Daily Archives: January 7, 2014

387 Short Stories: Day 29: Story 29: Talaq by Mahasweta Devi

Till Death Do Us Part by Mahasweta Devi Title: Talaq
Author: Mahasweta Devi
Taken from the Collection: Till Death Do Us Part by Mahasweta Devi

Mahasweta Devi is one of the few women short story writers and novelists in India, who know exactly what emotion to derive from the reader. That is my view on all her writing. She is beyond brilliant according to me and the sad part is that very few people have heard of her.

“Talaq” is a wonderful story of a marriage, a divorce and strange enough (well not so much) love that transcends all bonds that break. Kuli finds herself on the brink of a divorce in the heat of a moment. Her husband divorces her and yet she defies all society and continues to be with him, despite being divorced.

The nuances in Mahasweta Devi’s stories are superbly portrayed. A reader who loves short stories must read Mahasweta Devi’s stories for the very much needed overall perspective.

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Book Review: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte Title: Wuthering Heights
Author: Emily Bronte
Publisher: Barnes and Noble Signature Editions
ISBN: 978-1435136540
Genre: Classic
Pages: 328
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

If there is one classic, which I go back to every year and continue to do so, without as much batting an eye-lid then that has to be, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. For some it is Pride and Prejudice. For others it could be anything by Mark Twain. For me, it is just this sole book written by Emily Bronte, who according to me was also the most interesting amongst the three.

I never need a reason to read this one, however this time; I also read it for The Novel Cure Reading Challenge. While it is a story of passion and love, it is also a story of class, of families, of how one cannot resist and yet must one do what society dictates. At the core however, it is a love story like none other. The story is dark. It is not pretty. It is not meant to be. It was considered vulgar and preposterous when it was first published. Emily went to her grave thinking she was a failure. The book was reprinted by Charlotte and now it is one of the most beloved classics of our times.

Wuthering Heights is narrated by Nelly Dean. She has lived around for a long time. The story is told in extended flashback to a lodger or rather the tenant at Thrushcross Grange. Nelly narrates the story of Heathcliff and Catharine – of their obsession, their love and their madness. Of how they could not be together and yet would not give up each other for the world.

I remember reading the novel for the first time when I was thirteen. I was depressed for a week. The empathy towards Heathcliff and the need to also beat him up was strong. The need to for once, allow Heathcliff and Catharine to be happy ever after was beyond anything else which I ever wanted and yet I knew this was not possible.
The book evokes strange feelings in the reader and those feelings remain. It is more than just unrequited love. You know there is only one way in which this story will end and yet – you pray that things become alright and they do, in a different way of sorts. The core theme also, mostly forgotten is that Heathcliff is an outsider. He has been adopted by Mr. Earnshaw at the beginning of the novel, which Hindley, Catharine’s brother cannot stand. This is just the start of things to come though.

At some point you feel Catharine also detests him and to some extent maybe that is true, but you know that love will prevail and she is merely trying to succumb, but you know she is stronger than that. Wuthering Heights will break your heart – even if you do not want it to, it will. There is no way out from that one. A read which you will never forget for years to come, that is for sure.

This one as per the Novel Cure is to Cure Adoption.

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387 Short Stories: Day 28: Story 28: The Walk with Elizanne by John Updike

My Father's Tears and Other Stories by John Updike Title: The Walk with Elizanne
Author: John Updike
Taken from the Collection: My Father’s Tears and Other Stories

Since my Internet connection was acting weird last night, I could not post this, however this was yesterday’s story. “The Walk with Elizanne” by John Updike is, according to me, his most simple story and at the same time, the most brilliant of his short stories. I could be biased, but I love this story. This was probably the third time I was reading it and yet, fell in love with it, the same way as I had read it the first time.

The story follows Elizanne and David, as they move through the town they grew up in and relive their first kiss. It is a reunion of sorts and Updike manages to encompass a world in this. He speaks of hard truths of life and how people change and yet he manages to keep their innocence intact, as they go along, wondering the people they were and the people they have become – and how was their first kiss and now in all probability their last.

“The Walk with Elizanne” is a beautiful story, which I would urge everyone to read.