The thirty-nine short stories in this book will blow you away. Starting with a ghost story by Rabindranath Tagore, India’s most famous writer, and ending with a fable by Kanishk Tharoor, a writer who has come of age in the twenty-first century, these literary masterpieces showcase the extraordinary range and diversity of our storytelling tradition. The first recognizably modern Indian short stories were written in Bengal (by Tagore and others) in the second half of the nineteenth century, and writers from other regions were quick to follow suit, often using the form to protest colonial oppression and the various ills afflicting rural and urban India. Over the next century and a half, some of the finest writers the world has seen produced outstanding fiction in every conceivable genre. Many of these stories find a place in this volume, as does work that has never been published in book form before. Here you will find stories of classical realism, others rooted in folklore and myth, tales of fantasy, humour, horror, crime, and romance, stories set in villages, small towns, cities and the moon. They will entertain you, and shock you, they will lighten your mood and cast you down, they will move you, and they will make you reflect on life’s big and little questions. Most of all, they will make you see the world differently –as the greatest stories always do.
David Davidar is a novelist, publisher, editor and anthologist. He has been an attentive reader of Indian fiction for nearly forty years.
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