Touched and Stirred by Magical Realism

Book Title: A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

Author: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Translator:  Spanish to English

Rating:  4. 5 of 5 Stars

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A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

My mentor recommended reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez to get an understanding of magical realism genre. This was the first story in this genre which unconsciously reflected in the works that I submitted to mentor for one-on-one mentorship. The storyteller was so fabulous with his words and his storytelling methods were so clear, that it was such an easy story to read. Within the space of the format short story the writer created a world which passed through months while creating lovable illusion of the old man.

Story in a Nutshell:

The story revolves around the strange looking old man with huge wings landing at Pelayo and Elisenda’s doorstep. The stranger arrives unexpectedly and leaves as unexpectedly from their house. The whole mystery behind the stranger visit is fresh and full of intrigue for just a short duration. Strange man is popular figure to be looked at and provoked. Pelayo and Elisenda make the most of the situation and make a small fortune from charging for seeing the strange man. The stranger’s uniqueness is overshadowed by another unusual person and people flock up to see that, instead of the strange man, who was getting to be boring to watch. The author played around the stranger walking into the house and how he leaves eventually without making any recognizable difference.

 

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

This story was my first exposure to magical realism and it felt really different from all the other stories. I liked the idea of getting a really supernatural element into the ordinary existence, and then, let it play out its course. This technique was done with great efficiency by the writer. I liked the way the story goes and there was much to explore within that space and the author made full use of that unique space.

There was nothing to dislike about this story and I felt a little disappointed that the people though they declared the stranger to an angel and lost interest on him after a duration. But then, I believe it is exactly the way human being react. Something remains novel and interesting until it satisfies the unique curiosity. The minute the novelty of newness had replaced with over familiarity, it then takes away the novelty. But this is also a fact of life and the author played with it gracefully.

My Opinion

I would recommend reading this short story because it didn’t have a moment when the mind was not turned inside-out in self-questioning. There were such great passages to read in a sitting, that it creates great joy to the reader. People who are looking for complex plots with fine-tuned sensitivity would enjoy Marquez’s stories.

 

Image Source:  http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?507702

 

 

Tagore’s Package of Unforgettable Characters

Book Title:  The Very Best Short Stories of Rabindranath Tagore

Author: Rabindranath Tagore

Translator:  N/A

Rating:  4.5 of 5 Stars

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A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Tagore was always a fascination for me. In the very early formative years, I had read the Kabuliwahal piece from a borrowed and dog-eared copy of the short stories by this author. His way of telling a story is really appealing for two main reasons.

One is that he takes his time narrating; while ensuring to maintain the reader’s interest in the plot. Another reason is that, I found ancient voices talk to me with familiarity which was endearing to me in my mind.

Every story seemed well contemplated and effortlessly wrote. Be it The Postmaster, Kabuliwahal, Subha, or The Castaway every single story left a feeling of satisfaction; while encouraging being a creative thinker who is progressive.   Tagore was change-maker using one word at a time fitted in neat concepts.

Story in a Nutshell:

These are collection of stories about people in and around Kolkata and West Bengal. These stories are set in late days when the British Government was replaced with self-governance of India. The entire psyche of the Bengalis and of the immigrants makes an impact on the story plot; while providing a beautiful canopy of experiences for the readers. It is wonderful cosy blanket weaved into short plots that carried human emotions and feeling with great precision.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I really love the idea of short stories. Short pieces are hard to write; but great to read. The workmanship of Tagore in these pieces is really worth more than one reading. I am still trying to learn from the style that Tagore used for his short stories. There is never a moment of boredom in these stories; which happily amble their way to the finish. I didn’t have any dislike about the pieces but maybe I wanted to read more stories by Tagore.

My Opinion

I feel that this is a great book for beginning readers because it is reflective and simple at the same time. I would recommend it to students of 6th grade without any fear of censorship for some of the stories. But there are some adult stories too in the collection. The stories are euphemistically done with an eye-for-perfection.

Image Source: Embassy Book

Stories That Border on Euphemized Indian Lives

Book Title: At Close Quarters

Author: Sonia Narayanan

Translator: N/A

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy: N/A

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Sonia Narayanan is based in Bangalore and as a writer; she creates stories that are captivating with a nice human twist to it. The storyteller of these pearls of stories has a unique understanding of human mindset. The author weaves in and out of each story with relative ease and she has set them in different parts of India, thus diversifying the whole collection. The characters are built with such care and details that it showed the writer’s sparkle of writing talent.

Story in a Nutshell:

The short stories in this collection are really interesting with multiple level of flavoring, that it covers all the reader’s entertainment requirement with ease. The collection has 10 short stories set at various places and with different types of personalities. The stories start off, as if ambling into the park of storytelling, while holding the feeble thread of an audience attention with great care. These stories are emotionally mature and yet so filled with human fallacies that become the part of our everyday commoner’s life.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

More than likes, I would say I found a writer who conversed with me. I was captivated by her storytelling style. I loved the fact that the characters were either casual stroke of the brush or intricate painting of Dorian Gray personality feel. There was a taste of R. K. Narayan in the description of the settings but the characters were Sonia’s own. I enjoyed spending time in the scene, while my emotions were the crumbling fourth wall.

There wasn’t much that I disliked about this book, but I did feel that she was hiding from actually placing the dark side without any obscurity. Because in the short story “Anand” I felt she played it safe and left the death of Anand’s wife as a mere apology. Maybe that is the only thing that I felt that the author was not doing it right. I think euphemism is good for certain stories and sometimes one just has to be brutally true in some stories.

But that brings up an unique question within me. Do we have to be graphically explicit in our stories to be authentic? Or just not talking about the bad stuff makes us more palatable writer of reality and social activist causes.

My Opinion

I enjoyed all the ten stories and would love to read it again. But the first impression of the stories can never be replicated. It was a wonderful Indian flavors presented in gentle spirit of being socially right. Great read!