Indie Books of the Month, Rather…
This month there are two books that caught my fancy. Both vastly different. One is a fantasy, and the other a collection of short stories about issues that once plagued India.
First the fantasy – The Line Between (Kindle Edition) by Beverly Knauer
I am astounded by the sadness in this book. It begins with a suicide and then moves on with the dead person’s thoughts in first person. The people he leaves behind deal with the sorrow – his wife, a few friends, his parents.
Then the story moves forward to the birth of a boy who crosses dimensions just to make the grieving survivors happy. Here begins a conversation that takes place in another dimension, which is of course, based purely on fantasy. An interesting take on how we are able to move on and past a tragic event.
The characters in this book repeatedly face tragedy. Each time, per the concept in this book, ‘spirit guides’ from another dimension help them deal with it. That seems to be the essence of this story.
It is very well written, and the characters are believable. The fantasy is a bit hard to digest but that could just be me. There is more. A book in the works, years in the making, and so on…several fantastic ideas.
I did not find one strong thread that bound the whole thing together. There are several disjointed concepts – like why we should know that we are all connected, that could all be individual stories. The one topic that did seem obvious was about walking the line between real happiness and a compromised version of it.
It does hook you, and then it makes you think.
The second one is a collection of short stories
A Tapestry of Tears: Short Stories from India (Kindle Edition) by Gita V. Reddy
The stories dealt with in this book are all set deeply in some unfortunate person’s misery. Female infanticide at its worse, for one. This one is set in the past. For those from the generation that believes ‘checking the sex of the baby during an ultrasound’ is wrong because it often results in the mother aborting the girl – this will make you do an about turn. When you learn about the practice where a woman is deemed a ‘coward’ because she does not have the courage to kill her newborn girl, and is then ostracized by an entire community, you’ll want to rush that ultrasound to them. There are many such social crimes, being committed even today, that allow the criminals immunity. They hide together, in plain sight, bound by the ‘strength in numbers’. It is unfortunate, but true.
Most of the other stories in this book follow a similar trail. Tragedy resulting from superstitious beliefs, self-psychosis and unnecessary misunderstandings, and so on.
There are a few set to happier tones like the “Empress’ New Clothes” based on the popular ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’. The moral here is clear.
The one about body image and love titled “The Prisoner”, does an about turn and talks about a less than perfect mother.
Fortunately, as a country India has moved past most of these one-time prevalent practices that harmed many. Perhaps the author does not want us to forget those that helped make that happen.
I wouldn’t recommend this for the weak of heart. Happiness is knowing you missed this era – read it and feel good about yourself. Read it if you want to learn more about India’s tragic past, and to judge how much she has grown. Picking itself up from a rut India’s amazing journey into the global world is put in perspective.