In these times of anxiety and pain and a myriad of nameless feelings, nameless because we haven’t experienced anything like this in our lifetimes. Stories become an even more important part of our lives. Author Anukrti Upadhyay has recommended a few short story collections that she has been reading during this lockdown.
This is what Anukrti said about her list, “I found these collections tremendously rewarding reads, both as a reader and a student of the short story craft. In their differing ways, these stories explain us to ourselves. All these books, to me, are timeless.”
Check out her recommendations below:
Blue is like Blue by Vinod Kumar Shukla
Blue is like Blue is a collection of short stories by Vinod Kumar Shukla. The stories in Blue Is Like Blue deal with ‘smaller-than-life people’. They live in rented accommodation, often in single rooms, where one electric bulb does for light. There’s a nail to hang clothes from and a wall-to-wall string for the washing. When the clothes are dry, you place the carefully folded shirt under a pillow and lie down to sleep. Money is a concern, but the bazaar is the place to go and spend time in, especially if you have nothing to buy. The fear that you may be overcharged accompanies every transaction, but joy is not entirely absent.
Insects Are Just Like You and Me Except Some of Them Have Wings by Kuzhali Manickavel
This book is a collection of thirty-five short stories. The astounding, absurd, surreal stories, dipping quotidian inanities into absurd interludes, are unlike anything anyone has ever read before.
Picnic in The Storm by Yukiko Motoya
Picnic in the Storm is a collection of disruptive, beguiling and intriguing short stories. They abound in strange characters, solemn undertakings, surreal happenings – a woman bodybuilder, a husband who turns into a mountain peony, a cat who refuses to be toilet-trained, the stories create new metaphors for alienation and difficulties in achieving true closeness, of urban lives and unfinished expressions.
Palm-of-the-hand Stories by Yasunari Kawabata
“Palm-of-the-Hand Stories” is written over the span of Kawabata’s career. In them we find loneliness, love, and the passage of time, demonstrating the range and complexity of a true master of short fiction. The book contains 140 short stories.
Timeless Tales from Marwar by Vijaydan Detha
It is a hand-picked compilation from the much-celebrated Batan ri Phulwari–‘Garden of Tales’–a fourteen-volume collection written over a span of nearly fifty years. Retold in Detha’s magical narrative style complete with imagery, this selection offers some of the oldest and most popular fables from the Thar Desert region.
If you want to know more about the Timeless Takes of Marwar, click here.