Thursday, February 26, 2009
I just finished many present-day trips to India in the pages of Indu Sundaresan's brilliant new short story collection: IN THE CONVENT OF LITTLE FLOWERS (Atria Books).
The fabric of these stories is silken, the flow of language itself transports the reader. Though the stories vary in time and place, all of the striking stories take unflinching looks at human relationships. All explore the question of human value.
In "Shelter of Rain" A young doctor, Padmini Marrick, receives a mysterious letter from The Convent of Little Flowers -- the orphanage she left after her adoption at the age of six to come to America. Now her long lost mother is finally contacting her. Why?
In "The Faithful Wife" a reporter tries to stop a town from committing Sati, the ritual burning of a widow -- the widow is twelve years old.
In "The Key Club" wives are highly valued, but there's a catch.
There are too many stories to name here but the tale entitled "Three and a Half Seconds" has to be mentioned. It is riveting and terrifying, all the more so because it is based on a real story of a son's escalating parental abuse.
IN THE CONVENT OF LITTLE FLOWERS is a book to own, cherish, and reread for its beauty and its unflinching look at humanity. Pick up a copy as soon as you can.