From the book blurb
These short stories translated from the Telugu language tell of experiences of ordinary middle class people caught in the crevice between traditional and modern ways of life. Against a backdrop of feverish modernization and fast-paced globalization, these stories depict the crumbling social structure (rural and urban) and redefine the family and social values of the people of Andhra Pradesh, the middle class, farmers, street-walkers and the lower strata of society. The thematic threads in these stories include changing values in the face of strenuous economic conditions, traditional courting and marriage mores, relationships within families under the pressure of increasing westernization, the woman's role as mother, wife and worker, the man's traditional role as provider and the fear of death. The stories invite readers unfamiliar with the culture of Andhra Pradesh to appreciate its centuries-old traditions in the face of change.
Malati Nidadavolu,born in Andhra Pradesh moved to USA in 1973.She teaches Telugu at the South Asia Summer Language Institute at the University of Wisconsin,Madison.
What I think
The cover page is brown – do they depict the fertile soil, I wonder. It has nicely lit busy streets in the background – do they portray the richness and wealthy people I think. And, the rickshaw walla in the foreground – representing the poverty and discrimination by money, I rationalize. Nevertheless, the cover page is perfect and so is the simple title. The book blurb gives away a gist of what can be expected. The lengthy prologue explains each short story in detail and its prominence.
There are eighteen stories in the book, each written by different authors. Each story begins with an introduction about the author and their achievements. The last story is penned by the Malathi herself.
And, I enjoyed each one of them. Most of the stories has a moral attached to it.
As I write about the book now, the story named “Bug” continues to bug me. It carries a profound meaning and holds true with most of us. “Akkayya” stole my heart. Her pride and simplicity made me love her and respect her at the same time. “The Man Who Never Died” reflects our fear of death. It makes us understand that death is only to the body and not to their goodness.
In short, the stories are well-translated and nicely narrated. Each story carries the essence of Andhra Pradesh’s culture.
Know more about ourselves and our values.
I heartily thank Jaico Publishing House for giving away the book for review
Short stories written in Indian regional languages carry deep meaning and reflects people’s culture as well. They also speak about ethical values and echoes the changing times.
As a teenager, I have read several short stories in Tamil. The words they use and they manner in which they express always used to remain in my heart. I like the use of metaphors. Most of the times, they talk about something one simple incident which may look so routine in one glance, yet carry profound meaning.
For some strange reason, I can understand Telugu and also read it. I call it strange because I have never really been in Andhra though. Could be because I know Kannada. So, when I found a book which carries short stories from Andhra Pradesh translated into English, I was overjoyed.