DESI GIRLS: Stories by Indian Women Writers Abroad; Edited by Divya Mathur

JACKET - FRONT (3) By Joan Deitch

HopeRoad Publishing 2015                                                       

PRINT – 978-1-908446-44-2 E-BOOK – 978-1-908446-43-5

Each one of the 22 tales in the Desi Girls collection ends with the traditional ‘sting in the tail’, which is an essential part of any short story. Sometimes the sting is gentle, reflective; at other times it is harsh – even lethal.

One thing all these stories have in common is their impact: another is their sheer variety.

The mainly female protagonists are fascinating characters, be they a young girl in love who is betrayed by her sister, a new wife plunged into the complexities of marriage or an older woman contemplating what remains of her life. Within the powerfully condensed medium of the short story, we can feel these women’s dilemmas intensely. We can rejoice with them, learn from them . . . even pray for them.

The various roles played by men range from the most noble of heart, to the worst kind of cad. It’s a rich mixture!

The title of the anthology – Desi Girls – will no doubt provoke lively and profound discussion about its meaning and relevance in today’s India and the wider world.

By anyone’s standards, Desi Girls is serious, high-quality fiction that will stay with us long after we have read – and reread – the stories. As Mohini Kent says in her Foreword: ‘Books are like the magic flying carpets of India, transporting us to the limitless layers of our consciousness.’

The twenty-two authors come from different parts of India, are of all ages and backgrounds, and live in different countries. Some of them are famous writers while others are complete newcomers. All are to be congratulated, as is their devoted Editor, Divya Mathur*, who has done an admirable job in bringing them together to produce this classic collection.

Joan Deitch is a London based freelance Fiction Editor

*Divya Mathur is an award-winning author, translator and poet; and editor of two earlier anthologies by Indian women writers: Odyssey (1998, Star Books, Delhi; ISBN 81-7144-053-3) and Aasha (Faith); (2003, India Bookshelf; ISBN 81-7650-075-5)