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Faber Stories, a landmark series of individual volumes, presents masters of the short story form at work in a range of genres and styles.
Who was she? Where was she going? Why did she return?
It is 1945, and twenty-year-old Shiv, grieving his identical twin brother, retreats to a small town in Uttar Pradesh. He is preparing to jump onto the train tracks when he is stopped by the sight of a woman.
Shanti’s husband is a fighter pilot missing in Burma. For the past three years she has travelled the country in search of him. In every military hospital she visits she hears a new story, and every time she passes through Leharia she tells one to Shiv. Through stories within stories Chandra tells a spiralling tale of loss, and of two wounded people becoming something new.
Borrowing a structure from the Mahabharata, Vikram Chandra tells a spiralling story of loss, and of two wounded people becoming something new.
Chandra shares with Dickens the ability to sustain a multitude of sub-plots that writhe energetically around the smooth uncoiling of his principal theme.
Unlike many contemporary Indian efforts, in fact most of the post-Rushdie stuff that strains to imitate Gunter Grass, James Joyce or Anais Nin, Chandra is refreshingly straightforward. There is no vanity of expression. He is telling us stories.
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