The Slate of Life: More Contemporary Stories by Women Writers of India

Kali for Women, Author, Laura Kalpakian, Editor, Kali for Women, Editor
Kali for Women, Author, Laura Kalpakian, Editor, Kali for Women, Editor Feminist Press $14.95 (176p) ISBN 978-1-55861-088-0
Reviewed on: 10/31/1994
Release date: 11/01/1998
Library Binding - 131 pages - 978-1-55861-087-3
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The editors' wish, in this sequel to Truth Tales, that ``the women in the stories... not be read either as exotic natives or as mere victims of patriarchal, class and caste violence'' is fulfilled by the sheer quality of the 10 short stories they have selected. Translated from nine languages, these tales of women facing daily life span the subcontinent's variegated cultures and social strata, but hold in common an unsettling mix of natural beauty and the threat (or actuality) of violence and oppression. As the female protagonists straddle these extremes, their choices are sometimes dramatic and unpredictable, as in K. Saraswathi Amma's ``The Subordinate,'' which recounts a temple-sweeper's struggle to maintain her daughter's sexual dignity; while in Chudamani Raghavan's subtle, symbolic ``Counting the Flowers,'' a pretty girl counts the phallic-shaped blossoms of a nagalinga tree as her father ``sells'' her into marriage to the son of a wealthier family. A very intimate sense of rebellion pervades-perhaps explained by most of these accomplished writers coming of age during the mid-century's anti-Colonial era-and poignantly demonstrates that, in fiction at least, the personal is political enough. (Dec.)
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