The crafting of short stories has of late been somewhat neglected because writers of fiction strive to create Great Novels that will sell by the millions, be made into films or TV serials and thus make them lots of dosh.
The question I ask myself is: Are we writers writing to become ‘rich and famous’ or do we wish to say something that will enlarge and illuminate the human experience?
Please remember that the short story is not a short novel or a novella. It is a specialist literary endeavour which in India was practised by the likes of Rabindranath Tagore, Munshi Prem Chand and Saadat Hasan Manto. Guy de Maupassant, Anton Chekhov, Oscar Wilde and O.Henry were past masters of the genre.
I have just received a collection of stories from a South Asian writers’ collective based in London called The Whole Kahani (The Whole Story). Love across a broken map (Dahlia Publishing, Leicester. £9.99. ISBN 978-0-9566967-8-6) was initially managed by Kavita Jindal but the final collection and edits were the responsibility of Farhana Shaikh of Dahlia. The ten stories by C.G. Menon (Watermelon Seeds), Dimmi Khan (Rocky Romeo), Radhika Kapur (The Nine-Headed Ravan), Kavita A. Jindal (Three Singers), Mona Dash (To London), Iman Qureshi (Naz), Rohan Kar (We Are All Made of Stars), Reshma Ruia (Soul Sisters), Shibani Lal (Entwined Destinies), and Farrah Yusuf (By Hand).
Three stories,by Kavita Jindal, Rohan Kar and Iman Qureshi were previously broadcast on BBC Radio 4. The Foreword is by Susmita Bhattacharya who writes, “Though the writers of this collection are of British Asian background that may be the only reference we have to South Asian culture… There are no forced marriages, arranged marriages, domestic violence, culture-gap issues in this collection. What we do have are darker characters, stories that are gritty, bold, funny and without the stereotype.”
The authors constitute a large pool of talent and I suggest that this collection be translated into Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil, and Malayalam for readers in South Asia.
Reginald Massey has been writing a regular Book Page for CONFLUENCE for years. His poetry and prose on a variety of subjects have been widely published. Most of his books are available from Amazon UK.